Movie Review: Watering down Ireland’s charms “Finding You”

“Finding You,” a romantic comedy about two-mismatched Americans in Ireland, is intended as a dessert dish — light and sweet. But think of this trifling comedy as a not-quite-traditional trifle built on top of stale angel food cake. No matter how you dress it up and toss characters, complications and “secrets” at it, the stale angel food cake is all you taste.

Rose Reid, who starred in writer-director Brian Baugh’s “Welcome Home to Christmas,” and  Jedidiah Goodacre, whose “Salem Witch Trials” name was better suited to TV’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” are bland co-stars who set off little in the way of sparks.

So, let’s dress things up. Finley Sinclair (Rose) is an aspiring violinist who failed to audition her way into the Manhattan Conservatory. No worries, she’ll spend a semester abroad in Ireland, just like her brother did before her. #problemsoftheprivileged.

Finley has a SECRET. And that secret has its own secret, drawings leading her…somewhere.

Beckett Rush (Goodacre) is the rising young star of a series of “Dawn of the Dragon” sword-and-sorcery romances, all filmed in Ireland. They “meet cute” (not even close) in First Class on the flight over. Beckett’s a tabloid favorite.

And Beckett has a SECRET.

One of Finley’s tasks as a student in Ireland is to befriend and comfort a bitter old woman (Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave). Her Cathleen Sweeney has a SECRET.

Then, there’s the tipsy fiddler down’tha pub — Patrick Bergin, adding twinkling and diddly aye music to his repertoire.

Might fiddler Seamus have…a SECRET?

Sorry to taunt the writer-director over this, but bashing him about the ears over the ridiculous coincidences, inability to find an original laugh and making the lovely Irish scenery and tourist sites look as drab and bland as his leading characters would just be mean.

The silly movie within a movie is seriously half-arsed, with tabloid mating intrigues between Beckett and his co-star (Katherine McNamara) “massaged” by Beckett’s agent (Tom Everett Scott). There’s a “big dance” coming, where every couple in tiny Carlingford claims is where they met their true love.

That plays with lovelorn teen Emma (Saoirse-Monica Jackson, trying WAY too hard), Finley’s “sister” for the summer as she’s the daughter of the B & B owners who put her up. But Finley, whose answer to every early Beckett (chaste) come-on is “I know your type,” has another agenda.

Still, Ireland may take hold of her, put the “diddly aye” life in her fiddle playing and the spring in her romantic step.

This picture is so contrived that the family (Fiona Bell and Ciaran McMahon) who accept exchange student Finley are not only the same folks who took in her brother years before, but they have to announce that they’ve just inherited this B & B (or the money to buy it).

That makes for more potential mischief and more coincidences in the never-ending parade of them Baugh shovels out.

“Potential” is basically what this movie squanders.

The supporting players are more interesting than the leads, who never make us care about them or root for them. And it’s fascinating to watch a brilliant talent like Redgrave and a game hoofer like Bergin try to lift this dead weight all by themselves.

They can’t.

MPA Rating: PG for language and thematic elements

Cast: Rose Reid,  Jedidiah Goodacre, Tom Everett Scott, Patrick Bergin, Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Vanessa Redgrave and Patrick Bergin

Credits: Scripted and directed by Brian Baugh. A Roadsides Attraction release.

Running time: 1:55 (too bloody long)

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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