Outside Providence

The follow-up movie to the Farrelly Brothers' There's Something About Mary is actually based on a book that Peter Farrelly wrote long before the first ideas for Mary came about. Outside Providence is a both a semi-autobiographical coming of age story and a fish out of water story, and should not really be compared to Mary. The humor here ventures nowhere near the territory of the toilet humor in Mary. However, the story is sweet and the jokes are funny.

Timothy "Dildo" Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy from The Faculty) young man growing up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in the 1970s. He lives with his three legged dog, his wheelchair bound younger brother, and his constantly pissed off father Old Man Dunphy (Alec Baldwin). Timothy and his friends love to waste their life away listening to music, trying to pick up on girls, and of course, drinking and smoking pot. After one especially heavy session, Timothy crashes into a parked police vehicle. His father ships him off to Cornwall Academy in Connecticut for his senior year, on the condition that if he graduates, all charges are dropped. If not, he will go to jail for one year. Of course, he is extremely out of place in the prep school. The other students dress neatly, and are very smart. When he discovers that some of the students have a mutual interest in pot and booze, he begins to fit in. The story follows Tim through his year at Cornwall, meeting and falling in love with Jane Weston (Amy Smart from Varsity Blues), and ultimately, growing up.

There is nothing really new in terms of the story. We know that the outsider boy is going to get the most beautiful girl, and of course, she has to seem unattainable. Then, something will happen so that they will break up, and then they will get back together. The fun part is watching this conventional story through the eyes of the Farrellys and director Michael Corrente (American Buffalo). The nostalgia is everywhere, from music by the Eagles, Wings, and more, to old magazine covers, the clothes, and a copy of Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Baldwin finally is in a role where he shines with the help of his gruff voice and huge build. Old Man Dunphy, similar to Eugene Levy's performance in American Pie, is a father who does not know how to communicate with his son. The love is there, but conveying is extremely awkward. George Wendt (Old Man Dunphy's friend Joey), Jon Abrahams as Drugs Delaney (also from the Faculty) Tim's perpetually drunk and stoned friend, and Timothy Crowe as Mr. Funderberk give very funny performances.
Haro Rates It: Not Bad
1 hour, 35 minutes, Rated R for pervasive drug use, language, and lots of sexual references.

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