Outside Providence [1999]

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Outside Providence was written by the Farrelly Brothers, known for the outrageous comedies Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There's Something About Mary. On the surface, Outside Providence seems to be of the same ilk--there's a three-legged, one-eyed dog, physical humor with a kid in a wheelchair, and a character nicknamed Jiz, among other things. But despite all that, the movie is an almost-gentle coming-of-age comedy, something like a suburban New England Amarcord with a lot of unrepentant drug humor. The plot doesn't sound promising: pothead Tim Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) gets sent to prep school by his father (Alec Baldwin), who wants to keep him out of trouble. But a fair amount of smoking and boozing goes on at that school, too, despite the watchful eye of the administrators. Dunphy also falls for Jane (Amy Smart), a richer and smarter girl whom he wins over. All this could just as easily be the plot of some mediocre Porky's rip-off, but the Farrelly Brothers' script has the grit of real experience, while the direction (by Michael Corrente) and acting carefully avoid smirks and easy gags; the movie is funnier for it. Baldwin initially seems miscast, but over the course of the film delivers a solid performance; Hatosy and Smart are sincere and unaffected. The result is a low-key, modest, but genuinely affecting movie about surmounting class differences and coping with loss--that also has a lot of jokes that push the boundaries of political correctness. Quite a balancing act. --Bret Fetzer

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"Outside Providence Quotes." Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <http://www.quotes.net/movies/Outside Providence>.

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