A Man might argue a story about losing testicles would induce a cringe
and protective leg-crossing. However, it's not testicles that make a
Man, it's responsibility and maturity. And therein lies the core of
this tale; balls, it turns out, are not balls.
Barry Munday is a dim bulb, breast-obsessed horndog searching for gratification at every possible turn. One drunken night he impregnates a mousy, bitter woman... and completely forgets until the (celibate?) woman's lawyer delivers a paternity demand. In the interim, an angry father has de-testiclized him with a trumpet. The end of the Munday lineage?
The comedy is quite subtle and placed squarely on the shoulders of the stellar cast. Supporting standouts are Jean Smart who genuinely shines and a number of oddballs, including every member (pun intentional) of a genital mutilation support group. Sadly, Cybil Shepherd and Malcolm McDowell are nearly non-entities. Chloe Sevigny (the woman's sister) has a great turn as the family favorite, stripper, female horndog equivalent to Barry.
This film belongs to Patrick Wilson, but particularly Judy Greer. In other films her edgy sidekick has been one-note abrasive. Here, in a tour-de-force, she juggles that same edge, bitterness, sexiness without sex appeal and near naked vulnerability. Her performance is an eye opener. Judy Greer fans (I was not really one of them) will rejoice.
If a laugh riot filled with obvious penis jokes is your bag (pun again intentional) you will be disappointed. The production designer clutters the background with quite funny visual clues underscoring the issue at hand (and again intentional). For example, hanging in the office of Barry's boss is an antique graphic with large text reading 'Seamen'.
Then there's Judy Greer's weird, mysterious, Japanese male neighbor. Despite Ms. Greer's protestations she's a virgin (before Mr. Munday), is the neighbor truly the father?
Great comedy creates a tapestry of the human condition between the laughs. "Barry Munday" delivers in spades. While not earth-shattering, the revelations - sibling rivalry, emotional and physical abandonment, true sadness, ego gratification, family denial at any cost, irresponsibility - in this comedic (left-handed) spin of "Taming of the Shrew" presents a beautifully crafted arc for the two main, emotionally damaged characters.
With multiple layers, smart writing, fine acting and terrific direction, "Barry Munday" is a wholly satisfying comedy light on the didactic, heavy on the weird, right on target overall.
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Barry: he slacks off at work, savors one-nights stands, and is getting older (young people call him "sir"). Then, he loses his testicles in an assault and gets a letter saying he's to become a father. He can't remember the woman and asks if she'll meet with him: she's Ginger, a solitary waspish woman about his age. He acknowledges paternity and wants to be a part of the pregnancy and parenthood. With reluctance and lots of put-downs, Ginger introduces him to her family, including the favored younger sister, and allows him to come with her to her doctor's. With his own father issues, a canny boss, brittle Ginger, and her vampy sister, can Barry hang in there?
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April 11, 2017 at 04:43 AM