tek's rating:

The Commitments (R)
Beacon Pictures; IMDb; RLJ Entertainment; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Caution: potential spoilers.

The movie is based on a book, which is the first installment in "The Barrytown Trilogy" (which also includes "The Snapper" and "The Van"). I haven't read any of the books, but all of them have been adapted into movies, though this is the only one of them I've seen so far. I'd definitely like to see the others, eventually. Anyway, all three books/movies focus, more or less, on a Dublin family, the Rabbittes. The main character in this movie is Jimmy Rabbitte, Jr., eldest child of Jimmy Sr. (played by Colm Meaney, of whom I'm a fan for his role as Miles O'Brien, in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine) and Veronica. The Rabbitte family also includes Jimmy Jr.'s sisters, Sharon, Tracy and Linda, and brothers, Leslie and Darren. But the family isn't of much importance to the plot of this movie.

Jimmy Jr., is friends with a couple of guys named Derek Scully and Outspan Foster, who played guitar in a band with another guy, who Jimmy didn't like, and he wasn't much of a singer, either. Derek and Outspan want Jimmy to manage them, but he insists on dumping their singer. He also insists they should play soul music. Seeking to recruit more members for the new band, Jimmy puts an ad in the paper, and holds auditions at his family's house, though most of the applicants... aren't at all what he's looking for. But eventually he finds a sax player named Dean Fay, a drummer named Billy Mooney, and a piano player named Steven Clifford. He also asks his friend Bernie McGloughlin to be a backup singer, and also wants her to ask her friend Imelda Quirke to join (all the guys think Imelda is sexy, which is why they're interested in her). Bernie also suggests another friend of hers, Natalie Murphy. After that, Jimmy approaches a guy named Deco Cuffe, to be lead singer. (Earlier in the film, Jimmy had heard him drunkenly sing at a wedding, which Deco didn't even remember doing.) Also joining the band is an older trumpet player named Joey "The Lips" Fagan, who had played with lots of great artists, the kind of people Jimmy wanted the band to aspire to be like. It was Joey who gave the band its name, "the Commitments."

Well, the band starts getting gigs, and they get pretty good. Though there's often fighting among the band members, for various reasons (mostly because no one likes Deco, and also all the girls like Joey). After awhile, Billy leaves the band, and he's replaced on drums by the band's kind of crazy, violent bouncer, Mickah Wallace. I don't really want to say more about the plot, especially how it ends, though really, there's not much more to say about it, anyway.

I will say the movie is pretty funny, and I liked it a lot because I'm a fan of Ireland in general. And the music was all really good. It was just... quite fun to watch, and had a good pace. And Jimmy was definitely a good character. I especially liked how he was always imagining himself being interviewed about the band. Also, I should mention my favorite, and I feel the most memorable line of the movie. At one point, Jimmy is showing a video of James Brown to some of the guys. Dean asks, "...Maybe we're a little white, for that kinda thing?" To which Jimmy replies, "Do you not get it, lads? The Irish are the blacks of Europe. And Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. And the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. So say it once, say it loud: 'I'm black, and I'm proud.'" Years after first seeing the movie, I still occasionally say that to myself (even if I'm not black, at most a quarter Irish, and certainly not musically inclined)....

seriocomedy index