Saving Grace [2000]

Imagine a Cheech and Chong pothead comedy, only instead of two scruffy lowlifes, the movie is about an aimless Scottish gardener and a middle-aged British widow with a green thumb. Grace (Brenda Blethyn of Secrets and Lies and Little Voice) has just discovered that her recently deceased husband has left her with an enormous debt when her gardener Matthew (Craig Ferguson, The Big Tease) asks her to help him tend to his small, personal-use marijuana crop. Grace soon realizes that they can turn her green house into a hydroponics laboratory and turn out a profitable crop--if only they can keep the local constables at bay and then find a dealer to actually sell the stuff. Saving Grace has well-developed characters, intelligent dialogue, a charming and capable cast, and clean, clear direction. But at heart it's still a marijuana comedy, with most of its funniest moments coming from the silly, stoned behavior of elderly ladies and other stuffy Brits. Nothing wrong with that, and Blethyn and Ferguson give the film a strong anchor. The ending goes a little over-the-top, but most of the movie is well-grounded in genuine human behavior. A subplot about Matthew's girlfriend's pregnancy is treated with respect and integrity. Sweet, silly, and sincere. --Bret Fetzer

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