Doug Brod
March 03, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Closer You Get

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
104 minutes
performer
Ian Hart, Sean McGinley, Niamh Cusack
director
Aileen Ritchie
distributor
Fox Searchlight Pictures
author
William Ivory
genre
Comedy, Romance

We gave it a B

This likable if terminally twee Irish comedy may hail from the producer of ”The Full Monty,” but the familiar component seemingly missing is a dead Ned Devine. The featherweight tale of Guinness-guzzling bachelors who place an ad in ”The Miami Herald” inviting American women to their rustic village, ”The Closer You Get” has got a keg of the cuties.

The lads — including a 36-year-old virgin, a scrappy butcher, and his sheep-farming brother — are in desperate straits. The most action they see is in the Bo Derek sex romp ”10,” which accidentally unspools instead of ”The Ten Commandments” at the local church on movie night. This kind of ingratiating small-town detail buoys the picture, and if William Ivory’s script relies on whimsical-blarney clichés, at least it offers the occasional zinger: After pugnacious Kieran (”The End of the Affair”’s Ian Hart) is banned from the pub, he reasons, ”I’m not an alcoholic, I can drink at home.” But then that’s typical of a man who looks so far afield to find romance, he can’t see what’s right under his red and broken nose.

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