Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 24, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Matchmaker

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
103 minutes
performer
Anthony Perkins, Shirley Booth, Shirley MacLaine
director
Joseph Anthony
distributor
Paramount Studios
genre
Comedy

We gave it a C

Janeane Garofalo has a problem: She’s intent on remaining a schlumpfy, self-hating, comedy-club misanthrope. But she’s so adorable in spite of herself — she glows when she smiles — that she gets cast in precariously winsome stuff like this fish-out-of-water romantic comedy set in a wee, twee Irish town. The black-clad Garofalo plays the cynical, all-work-no-play political aide to a Massachusetts senator (Jay O. Sanders), sent by his campaign manager (genuine Irish-American misanthrope Denis Leary) to the Old Sod to track down photogenic members of the pol’s clan when the reelection campaign falters. Naturally, the lass falls — against her snarling urbanite will, replete with scenes of hesitantly paced repartee — for the Local Hero-style locals; she’s particularly piqued by a quick-witted cutie out of an Irish Spring ad, played by David O’Hara. Ah, our Janeane, she’s an unlikely charmer. (Now she’ll probably loathe herself with renewed vigor; I sense a bitter HBO comedy special coming on.) C

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