Film Commentary [9-7-00]
Cheech and Chong British Style - - Saving Grace
Genre: Comedy
Grade = A-

Saving Grace poster
Grace Trevethyn (Brenda Blethyn), a very British, very proper middle-class lady is one of the leading gardeners in North Cornwall, producing new breeds of orchids. Grace is also in very serious trouble. After her failed businessman husband 'accidently' commits suicide by walking out of an airplane, she discovers that he has mortgaged everything they own up to the hilt, including her beloved estate home with its attached greenhouse. She is penniless and the creditors have come calling. Most of all, they want the house. Grace isn't even able to pay her loyal gardener Matthew (Craig Ferguson - Drew Carey Show).

Matthew has a scheme. He 'innocently' asks Grace to help him nurse his special ailing plants. Being a gardener, Grace agrees. After being led into the vicarage in the middle of the night to where the plants are hidden, she easily figures out they are marijuana plants, but she can't refuse a sick plant and agrees to care of it in the greenhouse. That is when Grace gets her idea for a scheme. She realizes that selling marijuana on the street could be very profitable and the money would save her home. She and Matthew throw out all her orchids and convert the greenhouse into a marijuana plantation.

Directed by Nigel Cole, this is an old fashioned British comedy updated for the modern world. It is full of your British eccentrics from Dr. Bamford (Martin Clunes) the local doper doctor, the French drug dealer (Tcheky Karyo), the two innocent little old lady shop keepers who decide to brew some of Grace's >tea= (resulting in the funniest scenes in the film), small time hippy dope dealer, Vince, (Bill Bailey IV) who needs pick up his daughter from flute practice, to the local Bobbie who is overly concerned with salmon poachers. It is very funny in the British way, that is, a comedy that is based more on wit. It has been compared to the Earling films of the 1950s.

This type of movie is a recurring theme in British film for the 1990s. That is, one that takes place in a small rural British town with eccentric local characters that explores the accents and culture of the area and the ability of the British to poke fun at themselves. Other recent films of this type include Waking Ned Devine and The Man Who Went up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain.

The performances were extraordinarily dead-on and funny. Expect to see Brenda Blethyn nominated for an Oscar for the third time. What makes this a superior comedy compared to the trash spewed forth by Hollywood this year (Me, Myself and Irene, Scary Movie) is that it is well written with full character development and aimed at adults, not fifteen year-olds.

This film is the funniest so far this year containing one scene with witty dialog and good physical comedy after another. It has been so successful in independent film theaters that it has been released onto an additional 800 screens this week.

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