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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Outside Providence
Directed by Michael Corrente
Miramax 09/98 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - pervasive teen drug use, strong language

Based on a novel by Peter Farrelly (There's Something About Mary), this funny and poignant coming-of-age drama is set in Rhode Island during the 1970s. Tim Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) is a scrappy and resourceful teenager who lives with his working class father (Alec Baldwin) and his wheelchair-bound younger brother (Tommy Bone) in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. After being busted for using marijuana and crashing into a parked police car, Dunphy is shipped off to Cornwall Academy where he finds himself constantly squaring off against Mr. Funderburk (Tim Crowe), the posh school's rigid disciplinarian.

Writer, producer, and director Michael Corrente pulls out all the stops in this drama that mixes scenes of quiet emotional intensity with gross-out moments of hilarity. In one year, Dunphy comes to terms with his gruff father's quiet heroism; an intimate relationship with Jane (Amy Smart), a college-bound beauty; the death of a drug-using friend (Jon Abrahams); and the betrayal of a trusted comrade at Cornwall. Although his father constantly shames him by calling him names, the old man's affection for his son is very evident in a tender moment when he teaches him how to knot his necktie correctly. This is just one of the human touches in this surprisingly tender movie.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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