Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Movie Review: Outside Providence


Ah yes, another case of poor advertising. Though not as horribly misguided as the ads for The Iron Giant, the trailers touting Outside Providence as a film in the style of the Farrelly brothers' There's Something About Mary are pretty bad. Sure, the film has a couple of colorful, gross-out gags, but for the most part, Outside Providence is a sweet coming-of-age story about Tim, an aimless pot-smoking teen from Pawtucket, RI, who is sent to a prep school for his senior year in high school by his gruff but caring father. So that's the set-up, and, if this were like Mary, hilarity would now ensue. It does, but for this movie, the laughs come more from the heart than from the gut. At prep school, Tim makes new friends (including Jizz, a nerdish guy who earned his nickname his freshman year in a horrendously embarrassing flashback) and meets Jane, an attractive, popular and intelligent girl bound for Brown ("Hey, they got one of those in Providence!") University.

Of course, Tim butts heads with the evil dorm master, and grows up a little and all that stuff that coming-of-age movies are made of. Now, I'm not the biggest Alec Baldwin fan - in fact, I often avoid movies he's in - so it's no small compliment to say that he is a riot in this movie as Tim's father (who calls his son "Dildo"). The story is nothing new, but the writing is fresh and the characters have depth and heart, which more than makes up for that. And, yes, there are some gross gags. See it, and bring a date.


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