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Outside Providence

Filthy says:
"It's pretty
fucking bad!"

"Outside Providence" is not a good movie. In fact, it's the kind of bad movie where the lead character says he doesn't even want to fuck his girlfriend because their connection is at a higher level. Excuse me while I vomit up my Eggo waffle sticks. That Shawn Hatosy, the lead character, would say such shit and be sincere is a symptom of what's wrong with this soggy, tedious retread of the candy-ass private academy coming-of-age story. There isn't anything here that hasn't been done without the sap and with more nudity before.

Shawn Hatosy plays a screw-up stoner teen in a crappy industrial town outside Providence, Rhode Island. His father is Alec Baldwin, playing the gruff-but-loveable auto mechanic/father, tries to keep him on a short leash without his mother around. Out of boredom, Hatosy and his other friends get stoned and drunk a lot. Then they crash into a parked police car. Instead of going to jail, Hatosy is sent to a hoity-toity boarding school where he must graduate or he will be sent to jail.

Surprise-surprise, Hatosy finds he isn't like the other fancy-lads at Cornwall Academy, and the hard-ass dean has it out for him. He has to watch his step while he falls in love with the rich and pretty girl genius, Amy Smart. Hell, the movie goes so far as to have a character say she is "the smartest, most popular girl on campus." How fucking trite.

From there, the movie plods along: Smart and Hatosy fall in love; loads and loads of pot are smoked; one of Hatosy's stoner friends dies; Hatosy finds out why his mother killed herself; there is a minor crisis where Smart might not get into Brown University; Hatosy saves Smart's Brown opportunity; Baldwin reveals he ain't so gruff; blah, blah, blah... It's all drippier than my schnozz during a summer cold.

"Outside Providence" wants to be two things and fails at both. First, it wants to be a gross-out comedy like "There's Something About Mary." The Farrelly Brothers were involved in both, but in this case the flick reeks of amateurism. The second thing it wants to be is a coming-of-age drama. There are similarities to "Catcher in the Rye" where a rebel can't fit into his fancy-pants private academy. A story like this needs to be handled with the delicate and gentle touch of a douche commercial, but the Farrelly Brothers and director Michael Corrente beat it over the head like a red-headed step-child.

The gross-out comedy part involves more pot-smoking jokes than a Cheech & Chong movie, and they are just as funny. If you enjoy this kind of lame-ass shit, then you'll dig this, but probably not as much as renting the "Wizard of Oz" and listening to "Dark Side of the Moon" while watching it. A square-peg at the academy is given a Quaalude. Pot smoke pours out of a big bush where the stoners hide. On and On. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude about drugs. In fact, many of my co-workers at the Ralston Amoco couldn't get through a day of pumping gas without massive doses of meth-amphetamine. But, jokes about getting stoned are about as funny as getting stoned -- with rocks, by angry villagers.

The other gross-out jokes include a three -legged dog (ha-ha), a kid in a wheelchair who gets banged around, and characters named "Dildo" and "Drugs" (oh, how fucking hilarious). The whole thing feels like an early attempt by the Farrelly Brothers, before they knew how to write jokes. They are celebrating their drug status without even realizing how stupid it has made them. Believe me, this shit wouldn't get made if a schlub like me wrote it and sent it off to Hollywood.

The coming-of-age parts of "Outside Providence" stink like the men's room at Abe's All-You-Can-Eat Rib Shack. The Farrellys and Corrente don't know what the fuck they're doing. They just pile on the clichés in a feeble attempt to pull our strings and make us care. Maybe they would have succeeded if they hadn't been as clumsy as a puppeteer with cystic fibrosis. The strings they pull to get us to think it's all more relevant than a teen-titty-comedy are: a friend who dies; a dramatic revelation about a dead mother; a soggy speech in a bar; a bathetic father-son tie-tying scene that was handled better on "Happy Days"; and a turncoat rich fuck who gets Hatosy's girl booted from school. Characters actually spout nonsense like, "Everything I did, I did for you," and "Just because I call you Dildo doesn't mean I don't love you." Other characters say shit that nobody would say in real life, but they have to here to set up the next line, which is loaded with poignancy.

Hey Kids, get Filthy's Reading, Listening and Movie Picks for this week.

While almost all the blame goes to the Farrellys and Corrente for trying to slide this shit past us, the actors don't get off scot-free. The mostly unknown cast will likely stay that way, unless they have real good publicists and distance themselves from this amateur exercise. Alec Baldwin surely is shooting for an Oscar by playing the softer-than-he-appears father. But, for fuck's sake, he isn't the Great Santini. He gives it away right from the start and he somehow manages to overact in a role that requires little more than grunts and calling his kids "ass-bags." His teary-eyed barroom speech about love made me squirm because it was so hackneyed and lame. Baldwin should stick to eating fatty foods, because he appears to be very successful at that.

Two Fingers for "Outside Providence" and a recommendation to all you teen boys thinking you'll see some tits or something: forget it. There's nothing to see here. Go read "Catcher in the Rye" and get the real fucking deal.

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