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Comedy Movies - Rat

BUY Rat (dvd cover)
Pete Postlethwaite, Imelda Staunton,
Frank Kelly, Kerry Condon, Ed Byrne
Directed by Steve Barron
Universal 2000
91 minutes
Kafka's Metamorphosis meets Coronation Street in Rat a very funny and weird Irish Comedy written by Wesley Burrowes. The story is that of Hubert, an Irish fellow from Dublin who turns into a rat after a few pints at the local pub and the dark though very funny at times consequences this has for his family.

Although some might say this is surreality meets Jim Henson's Muppets, there is much more to this comedy than that. For one thing, the writing is superb. The list of great lines could take a few pages but personal favorites are:

"He might be furry and live in a cage but he's still our Da."
"Of course he's a white rat. He was a white man."
"You're not the only one who has problems, you know." says Hubert's wife to him.
"There's nothing worse than a drowned rat in the toilet, whether he is a close relation or not."

The reason this comedy works is everybody plays it straight, as if this were a perfectly normal every day occurrence. This allows the actors to play straight man to each other and the white rat who plays Hubert. The chase scene through the streets of Dublin when Hubert, now a rat, escapes from all the attention he is getting in the pub where his wife has taken him, is beyond bizarre and surreal. The gag that ends this scene, although is involves the sacrilegious waste of some perfectly good Guinness, is sheer brilliance. There are also other great visual gags in this movie including a great one involving a washing machine as a rat washing device.

Granted, the secondary plot involving a guy called Phelim Spratt who weasels himself into the family's life with the promise of a book deal (the scene where he and Conchita, Hubert's wife, are discussing the deal is great verbal comedy) does go a bit nowhere and leaves too many plot strings untied. Fortunately, this is no way hinders the many humorous moments and great dialogue in this movie.

For some reason, this reviewer feels that if you enjoyed Waking Ned Devine or Calendar Girls, you will definitely enjoy this funny DVD



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