Outside Providence

Outside Providence
Cast: Amy Smart
Studio: Miramax
Rating: 6/10

The Farrelly Brothers (There’s Something About Mary) are back with their latest offering, Outside Providence. The coming-of-age film is adapted from a novel written by Peter Farrelly.

Timothy Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy, the football player from The Faculty) lives up to the unprintable nickname bestowed upon him by his working class, poker loving father (Alec Baldwin). Tim and his drugged-out, boozer friends party hardy in the 70’s. They live it up until plowing their car into a parked cop cruiser.

Tim’s father works a deal with the police with the help of one of his poker buddies. The police agree to only give Tim a slap on the wrist, as long as he promises to reform himself by attending a prep school.

Deserting his friends for a snotty prep school is Tim’s worst nightmare. Arriving at school he meets gorgeous Jane Weston (Amy Smart, Varsity Blues) which helps lessens the sting. He also finds a new group of friends, discovering that the upper class also indulges in liquor and marijuana. With studious Jane’s help, however, Tim decides there’s more to life than partying.

An impressive soundtrack with giants like The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Eagles sets a powerful 70’s mood. The gorgeous fall scenery at the prep school meshes well with Tim’s gritty hometown of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. With such an impressive look and sound, it’s too bad that the story wanders, leaving the audience eager to cheer for something but unable to get excited about anything. Outside Providence offers little dramatic tension; Tim isn’t really interested in getting into a college and the romance between Tim and Jane happens with no build-up. The film’s ending seems tacked on and trite.

At least Hatosy and Smart provide fresh-faced believable performances. Hatosy perfectly plays the aimless teen while Smart’s performance leaves the audience wishing she had more lines. Baldwin also shines as Tim’s father, trying to cope with the suicide of his wife while raising two sons. Outside Providence has its funny moments, but they pale in comparison to the sidesplitting humor of movies like There’s Something About Mary. Worse, there’s no clever plot to compensate and too many prep school scenes that we’ve seen before (a vindictive secret society, hidden drinking, an obnoxious headmaster). The Farrelly brothers’ fans will be disappointed. The film is rated “R”.

+ Kendeyl Johansen

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