The Playboys (1992)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama, Period Film  |   Release Date - Apr 22, 1992 (USA)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , Ireland , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Derek Armstrong

There's something about these small-village Irish historical pieces starring Aidan Quinn that equals cinematic dullsville. Neither This Is My Father nor this film, The Playboys, makes much of an impression in its consideration of the "scandals" that test the predominating church morality of the Irish countryside. Actually, Quinn does a fine job as a charming vagabond actor forever on the verge of a crooked grin. The Playboys also boasts the great Albert Finney and the widely respected Robin Wright Penn, but none of these contributors can transform the pale material into something worth strongly recommending. Even with a few moments of near tragedy, director Gillies MacKinnon can't extract a necessary urgency or universality from these events. The film is at its most interesting when it examines the inner workings of the gypsy-like troupe of actors, headed by the dignified but beleaguered Milo O'Shea. Learning both classic and popular works on the fly, and sometimes adhering to the requests of the audience, the performers show a remarkable talent for improvisation and a real piecemeal ingenuity regarding sets and costumes. But the story's main focus is the uproar over the mysterious pregnancy of Penn's Tara Maguire, and that kind of dated provincialism just doesn't register enough with a modern audience, especially in the absence of other distinguishing elements.