24 April 2011


FAMILY JEWELS (aka Barry Munday)

reviewer Harry Davenport
Rated: 15 (UK)
Release: 25th April 2011
DrectorChris D'Arienzo
Cast Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer,ChloĆ« Sevigny

Family Jewels (known as Barry Munday in the US) tells the story of a man who loses his testicles and then finds out that he made a woman pregnant before the accident. The film tries to be both quirky and a gross out comedy but fails to do either. With an outstanding cast it is a shame that the film falls a little flat. That said there are some funny moments and it does look good.

This is an entertainment which never chooses what sort of comedy it is. Sometimes it is similar to Knocked Up and has a similar plot, revolving around a loser becoming a better person through parenthood. It looks and is paced like an indie comedy such as Napoleon Dynamite or Youth in Revolt but the jokes and the characters don’t fit, more belonging to a Farrelly brother’s film. The film feels uncomfortable because it doesn’t have a solid identity.

Patrick Wilson stars as Barry, the unfortunate man who loses his “Family Jewels”. The character is not well realised and goes from being a pervert to an odd ball to a nice guy. Wilson could play all of these things, and has done in the past, but mixed together it is a messy performance. He was wonderful in Angels in America and Little Children but this sort of comedy simply doesn’t suit him.

The terrific cast includes Malcolm McDowell, Choƫ Sevigny, Cybill Shepard, Christopher McDonald and Billy Dee Williams, but they never have much to work with and it is a shame to see such a good ensemble wasted. Judy Greer plays the nerdy love interest. She can be so funny as shown by her performance in the wonderful Arrested Development, but here, in a very undeveloped role, she plays a stereotypical geek.

Even though none of the performances stand out there are, briefly, some funny moments where all the actors show how good they can be. During these moments you can see how it could have worked if the story and the characters were stronger. The film looks very good with solid cinematography and wonderful set decoration, which is sometimes funnier than the action taking place.
Family Jewels is watchable and occasionally funny. Get this cast together with a good script and you could have a classic.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5

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