Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Introducing the Dwights

Brenda Biethyn, Khan Chittendon, Richard Wilson, Emma Booth and Frankie Holden

Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 20, 2007 Released by: Warner Brothers

Brenda Blethyn is more than an aggressive maternal presence in the heartfelt Australian coming-of-age Introducing the Dwights.

Her Jean heats things up more than her gawky, college-age son Tim (Khan Chittendon), who really is the main focus of this watchable, yet uneven dyfunctional family dramedy.

Jean toils in the kitchen of a fry shop and moonlights as a risque "entertainer" for a variety show aimed at audiences looking perhaps for more laughter than she can offer.

Saying she's doting on her two boys, including mentally-challenged Mark, a cheery Richard Wilson, is an understatement. They have little room to breathe, given the type of love she bestows on them.

The sassiness and sweetness of an honest, rather engaging reflection of Tim's maturity into adulthood is tested. Jean becomes more brittle as he gravitates towards a kind comely local gal, Jill, done with a certain self-effacing intelligence by Aussie model Emma Booth.

Mark helps his mom out in preparing for her not very successful stage routines, and we learn his of condition from birth due to a strangulation of his mother's cord. Jean may be more smothering also due to the fact she lost her one-hit wonder of a husband (Frankie Holden), now a security guard, to divorce. While her neurotic side churns, Mark finds solace with the neighbor's dog. Could it be that her loved ones have set her back professionally?

With the aura of performing live around it, there could be kinship to Little Voice a more poignant, similarly low-budgeted picture, that also featured Blethyn. One sees how director Cherie Nowlan can illuminate the irritability and youthful awkwardness with some freshness to character and detail. But, the way Blethyn has the shrill Jean dominate some of the scenes may be too much to take after awhile. Even if her shrieking has strong emotional family ties that are seemingly unbreakable.

Origninally released under the title: Clubland.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Introducing the Dwights       B-       B-

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