Review: Irish rom-com 'Wild Mountain Thyme' a breezy blunder of absurd proportions
Courtesy of Bleecker Street
Already generating a fair share of online backlash (as the internet does), for the trailer’s depiction of Irish accents, John Patrick Shanley’s “Wild Mountain Thyme” is a breezy blunder of epic proportions with an even stranger WTF finale.
Seriously, the ending teters into “Serenity” levels of absurdity.
Shanley, who once won an Oscar for writing “Moonstruck,” used to have a handle on relationships, but cashes out his laurels for a Jamie Dornan and Emily Blunt Irish rom-com where Christopher Walken has an opening intro saying: “Welcome to Ireland!”
Speaking of accents, the dialect coach for “Thyme” should be sued for punitive damages, but Shanley, adapting his own 2014 staged play “Outside Mullingar” which one should never do, isn’t all *bad* nor did I hate time spent with these characters. For one thing, the film is a work of beauty, and we get some wonderful pan shots (including the opening credits) of the Irish countryside. If anything, “Wild Mountain Thyme” could be a promotional video for travel activities once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Hell, I’ll book a flight.
Walken’s accent is especially atrocious playing Tony Reilly, an old farmer who spends his days recounting the family heritage and legacy. “Thyme” opens following the funeral of Chris Muldoon, whose daughter Rosemary (Emily Blunt) grew up crushing on Tony’s son, Anthony (played skittishly by an awkward Jamie Dornan who is actually Irish but yet still has a terrible accent?)
Time’s running out for ole’ Tony Reilly, and worried about the legacy Anthony leaves behind - he’s single with no marriage prospects, yet Rosemary couldn’t make it any more obvious if she tried - he suggests handing over the farm to Adam (Jon Hamm - thankfully accent free) a distant nephew living abroad in New York. Aside from stripping Anthony of everything he’s worked for, Tom has been caught in a turf war for 30 years over a sliver of land that cuts off access to the Reily farm (which Rosemary now owns). I’m not sure what this does in terms of aiding the plot, but I gather it’s a major inconvenience for Tom who apparently has to get out of his car and unlock adjacent gates each time he comes home?
A majority of “Wild Mountain Thyme” is wallowed in a vat of self pity and mindless characters who can’t seem to make up their minds. The audience knows Rosemary and Anthony belong with each other, so why not just take the plunge and keep us from hanging in suspense for two hours? Well that answer comes in the form of a late, third act reveal that’s so bonkers, it almost warrants a view. Almost.
Considering Shanley won a Tony and Pulitzer for “Doubt,” it’s shocking how flat the script for “Wild Mountain Thyme” comes across. There are some charming performances amongst the leads to help make this low-stakes romantic comedy go down like a cold pint of Guinness and “Wild Mountain Thyme” is certainly watchable. But absent any real conflict or characters who make rational and thoughtful decisions, this film is one leprechaun short of finding its lucky charms.
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME opens on VOD and in select theaters Friday, December 11th.