My review of the movie "Once"
Coming from the rich tradition of the Irish movie musical is the film titled, simply, "Once." The use of the word "once" in the title implies many meanings, none of which are related to anything going on in the movie. Once is the number of times a movie musical has ever really been made in Ireland. Once is the number of times a rational person would be willing to sit through this movie. Once is also the number of times a movie musical will probably ever be made in Ireland, considering how this one turned out. And once is the number of times the IRA should have gone back into the terrorism business and bombed the crew as they were filming.
After leaving the theater, I couldn't stop visualizing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers tap dancing in their graves. The producers of "Once" apparently thought it would be appropriate, given the new gritty style of filmmaking, to star a bug-eyed, ginger bearded lunkhead (Glen Hansard), who sings like he has a toilet brush dipped in cayenne pepper jammed up his rear end. Of course, the ideal counter to this delightful casting choice was a short, dour, raw-boned actress straight off the illegal alien ferry from Czechoslovakia (Markéta Irglová). Of special note was the casting of her mother, played by a woman who looked like Zsa Zsa Gabor with an extra chromosome.
The story concerns a busker, who is referred to only as "Guy," who enjoys a rich artistic career singing and playing his atonal yowls for drunks, addicts, and yuppies on a gray Dublin street corner. Guy's day job, however, is working in his Dad's vacuum cleaner shop. His romantic interest, refered to only as "Girl," apparently works as a professional irritant. Despite a rewarding career begging and fixing Hoover's, Guy's ambition is to make a demo tape of his music and to head to London to try for a recording contract. London is also where his ex-girlfriend has fled, having inexplicably dumped a self-pitying, self-loathing ne'er-do-well with a career in the rewarding field of vacuum cleaner repair, and who, at age 30, still lives with his father. Girl seems to have moved to Dublin to share her rich Czech cultural values of depression and unsightliness.
Guy and Girl spend the entire movie trying to decide whether they want to have sex. The audience spends the entire movie movie hoping they keep their clothes on. In and around the so-called love story is the plot thread which involves Guy trying to get his demo made. Because of that, the movie is filled with screeching, hollering, and barking so keyless and rambling that until the movie was over I had thought they had been performing the same "song" over and over, again.
The promo BS for the movie says the file was made for astonishing amount of $160,000. Still, I'm not sure they got their money's worth.