Keeping Mum

This English movie covers ground that’s so well trod that it looks like Melanie Griffith’s face. A vicar (Rowan Atkinson)—whose wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) is leaving him, whose daughter is slutting around and whose son is being bullied—is oblivious to the disintegration of his family. Then, a magical nanny (Maggie Smith) appears and begins to make everything right. So right, in fact, that Kristin Scott Thomas has to utter the line, “My son’s rid of his bullies; my husband’s become a comedian, and my nymphomaniac daughter’s discovered cookery. What’s going on?” Well, not enough that it’s worth you making an expository speech with no one present. The one twist in this film is that it takes a very casual attitude toward murder. That would make sense in a black comedy, but since there are no laughs in this film, I have to assume that it’s not a comedy; it’s a heartwarming family film. So I guess it introduces a new genre: the black, heartwarming family film which posits murder as a reasonably viable option for keeping a family together. Now, if it was only entertaining, it’d be great. Also starring Patrick Swayze as a parody of Patrick Swayze.

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