Review of Outside Providence


The Farrelly brothers movies have without a doubt made my Sundays better for the last 15 years. What is better than laying down on the couch after a long weekend only to find that Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, or Kingpin is on? Well if you are like me then you may want to consider hitting the video store this weekend and picking up the 1999 comedy Outside Providence.

If your first question is, "Is this movie as good as other Farrelly brothers comedies?", then the answer is no. Even so, Outside Providence is still a fun story of a cocky stoner named Tim Dunphy "Dunph" (Shawn Hatosy) who's blasé attitude toward his life leads him to hang with deadbeats and treat his future as an already written sad story. Late one night, during a smoke session with his friends, Dunphy crashes into a parked police car in his hometown of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. His father (Alec Baldwin), a Boston blue collar who spends his life in the bar or around the poker table, convinces the judge to send his son off to a private school for his senior year as punishment.

One of the only problems I have with this movie is that all this happens before you have a chance to get to know the real Dunph. Within a few minutes of the film he cuts his long hair off and is headed to prep school. This makes it a little harder to see the change in him later in the film. Also, I thought that way too many characters were used and the writers didn't do a good enough job at giving the audience a detailed enough back-story for us to care about them. His brother in the wheelchair, his mother and his friends should of either been developed as a more significant character or taken out completely. One of the things I liked and which set it apart from other comedies is that it avoided the cliche "fish out of water" scene when Dunph enrolls in his new school. The story takes a more realistic approach and shows how even at these prestigious prep schools there are kids like Dunph that drink, smoke pot, and hangout. It may have gotten a little ridiculous when Dunph somehow lands the hottest girl in school, Jane (Amy Smart), by sneaking her some booze in the back seat of her parents car. But hey, it's a teenage comedy and that's what happens. I found it funny though that at no point in the story did another guy try for her, but I have to say it was nice not seeing the usual "tool" in these comedies spending the whole time trying to steal the girl away. By the end of the story you see that they do care for each other even if they are two totally different people.

Outside Providence is a good 90's movie and will surely make you laugh with its numerous dirty jokes. It has great soundtrack of classic 1970's hits like The Who, reminiscent of another teen film base in the 70's, Dazed and Confused. It may not be the Farrelly's best work but it certainly great on a Sunday when your relaxing on the couch.