Movie review: 'Keeping Mum'

MoviesEntertainmentPatrick SwayzeMichael PhillipsKristin Scott ThomasRowan Atkinson

1½ stars (out of four)

Only the architecturally refined bone structure of Kristin Scott Thomas' face rescues "Keeping Mum" from full-on tedium. The film relocates an American-set Richard Russo script, adapted by director Niall Johnson, to the English hamlet of Little Wallop. Timorous local vicar Rowan Atkinson is married to bored, sexually thwarted Gloria (Thomas), lust object of her lecherous American golf pro played by a surreally tan Patrick Swayze. Swayze is really interested in Gloria's teenage daughter Tamsin Egerton. Such are this black comedy's conflicting intentions that it indicts Swayze's character for his salaciousness while showing off a topless Egerton not once but twice.

Into these disordered lives waltzes a serenely psychopathic housekeeper (Maggie Smith), recently sprung from prison after chopping up her husband and his lover. This Nanny McPhee with a rap sheet makes everything right and solves each new problem, from the bullies clouding the life of Egerton's younger brother, played by Toby Parkes, to the yapping dog next door. The plot revelation relating to the reasons behind the housekeeper's visit is telegraphed so early and so obviously, you can't believe the writers weren't a little harder on themselves. Not even such wily scene-thieves as Smith and Atkinson can salvage much of the silliness. Thomas alone manages to suggest some seriocomic signs of life inside an identifiable human being.


'Keeping Mum'

Running time: 1:43. Opens Friday at AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4, 1608 N. Wells St.; 312-642-6275. MPAA rating: R (for language and some sexual content/nudity).

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MoviesEntertainmentPatrick SwayzeMichael PhillipsKristin Scott ThomasRowan Atkinson
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