The MatchMaker (1997)

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Aside from the strong language, this romantic comedy is really cute, and is one I come back to time and again. Marcy Tizard (Janeane Garofalo) is a cynical campaign worker for Senator John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders), an incumbent running for reelection in Boston. The Senator is a good man, but he has had problems sticking to certain issues in the past, and these little mini-scandals are coming to bite him during this election season. Since Boston has such a heavy Irish population, the senator’s slick campaign manager, Nick (Denis Leary) is looking to play up the Irish ethnic factor of the senator’s roots. They send Marcy to Ballinagra, supposedly the town in Ireland where the McGlorys came from in the 1930s. What Marcy does not know about about Ballinagra is that she has come to the town during the week of the annual Matchmaking Festival, and the town is in chaos from all the people coming in from all over the world trying to get the ultimate hook-up.

Marcy meets Sean Kelly(David O’Hara) on her first day in, and he happens to be using her bathtub, as the innkeeper has put her up in a tiny room that is reserved for staff and family. It turns out that the wild ginger is just as bitter and cynical about politics as Marcy has become, and the local matchmakers see that Sean and Marcy are a perfect match, even if they are trying to avoid it. Marcy makes many attempts to find out about the McGlory family, making announcements at local pubs to gain information, but with her dark, exotic looks, in a town filled with fair and ginger-haired people, all she manages to attract are potential suitors. The two best matchmakers town make a bet of a hundred pounds on who will get Marcy married to Sean first. The weaselly Dermot O’Brien(Milo O’Shea) gets to work doing whatever he can to make sure he wins his bet with Millie O’Dowd (Rosaleen Linehan).

Between a developing relationship with Sean and doing her work for the Senator, Marcy can barely think straight at times, and when the Senator and Nick show up, things just get worse. I can sort of understand why the people of Ballinagra talk as crudely as they do, even when you can follow them. Except for the strong language, this movie is fun, warm, and funny. From the mishaps with the local tanning beds to the crazy way Sean and his brother, Declan (Paul Hickey) act towards each other, like little boys trying to do each other in, this movie is really cute. And we even get to see slick and slimy Nick get his just desserts along the way. It’s a keeper.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★☆☆ 

IMDbBuy The Matchmaker DVD