SXSW Review: Barry Munday


Director:Chris D'Arienzo

Cast:Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Malcolm McDowell, Cybill Shepherd

Running Time:83 Minutes


Barry Munday has a problem; he's a shameless ladies' man. His days are spent scouting out local bars, restaurants, strip clubs, and street corners in search of a new piece of tail. One day, a particularly promising movie theater encounter with a teenage girl results in the sudden and painful loss of his most valuable possession: his testicles. At first, Barry mopes around the house feeling sorry for himself, but when he's contacted by a pregnant woman named Ginger who claims that he is the father of her child, he finds a new lease on life. Though he has no recollection of having sex with the rather homely woman, he decides to take on responsibility for the baby without seeking a paternity test.

Patrick Wilson anchors Barry Munday as the title character. The versatile actor has been better known for drama films in the past, but this turn at comedy seems a natural fit; he's absolutely perfect. Everybody knows a guy like Barry, whether they like it or not. He's un-cool, immature, and living out high school fantasies as a middle-aged man. Only after meeting Ginger does Barry begin to realize that he's being presented with his one shot to carry on the family name. Even though Ginger isn't the most attractive girl he's met, he begins to set aside his superficial fixations in favor of a more settled life.

Judy Greer's portrayal of Ginger is slightly less clear-cut when compared to Barry. She is constantly pushing Barry away, and one is left wondering why she even contacted Barry in the first place: she doesn't even seem to want him involved in her baby's life. As the daughter of a wealthy, successful, athletic family, Ginger is the odd one out. Her younger (and more attractive) sister is proudly promiscuous, and her parents are track-suit wearing achievement whores who express disappointment in the direction of their daughter's life. Because of this, Ginger decides to embrace her quirkiness by intentionally not fitting in. With this in mind, it's easy to understand why Greer is absolutely riotous from start to end. Her wardrobe, her makeup, and her shameless mannerisms play perfectly off of every single member of the cast in one way or another.

The two lead characters are supported by an all-star cast that includes the perpetually cool Billy Dee Williams, the critically acclaimed Chloe Sevigny, and the scary-yet-lovable Malcolm McDowell. With all of this great talent, first-time director Chris D'Arienzo has managed to craft an endearing comedy that will no-doubt see a wider release sometime within the next year. The premise may sound like a tough sell, but the SXSW audience absolutely loved this film. Hopefully you will, too.


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