Patrick Wilson is an actor best known for his dramatic work in such fine movies as Little Children and HBO’s award winning, Angels in America. His turns in comedy have been limited to some rom-coms. He also appeared in the adaptation of Watchmen as Nite Owl. Barry Mundy is an independent film that received a limited theatrical run and was released on DVD to little fanfare. In it, Wilson is a delight. The actor goes for broke as the title character, a womanizing douche bag whose life changes twice within a week, causing him to reflect on his life and make a change for the better.
Barry works in insurance and he gets by in life doing as little work as possible, spending his nights scoring with women at bars who are simple enough to fall for his horseshit. Barry believes he’s a real ladies man. One afternoon, he picks up girl, thinking she’s at least 18, and escorts her into a movie theater. Slowly, he realizes that she’s underage and he tries to distance himself from her. Too late, though, as the girl’s father shows up in the darkened theater carrying a trumpet and SLAMS the horn into Barry’s balls. Barry may be a douche, but the guy didn’t deserve that.
The damage is so severe that Barry has to have his testicles removed. To his credit, he takes the devastating loss in stride. With his loving mom (played by Jean Smart) by his side, Barry begins the long road to recovery. Just back from the hospital, Barry undergoes his second life changing moment when he receives a letter from a lawyer claiming that one of Barry’s one night stands is pregnant and that Barry is the father.
Enter, Ginger, played by the immensely talented Judy Greer (she is constantly playing the thankless role of the ”best friend,” but she really shined in Arrested Development). Ginger is bitter, pissed off and wants nothing to do with Barry. She just wants him to take some responsibility. Barry, realizing that may be his only chance at being a father, does the unexpected and tells her that he wants to be involved: Doctors visits, Lamaze classes, being there at the birth, Barry wants it all. Thus begins a journey of self realization that helps Barry change the course of his life and find new purpose. Along the way, he and Ginger begin to fall in love and create one of the more unusual relationships you’ll see on film in some time.
Written for the screen and directed by Chris D’Arienzo, Barry Munday is a very funny, and moving comedy that deserves a larger audience. The writer/director has crafted a strong script that is at times shocking, others uncomfortable, and laugh out loud in other places. There is also a great deal of heart in D’Arienzo’s movie, mainly because of the wonderful performances by Wilson and Greer. The director also assembled a great supporting cast. In addition to Smart, Cybil Shepherd and Malcolm McDowell appear as Ginger’s parents, Chloe Sevigny as Ginger’s prettier, slutty sister, and Billy Dee Williams (so cool) as Barry’s all knowing boss.
Barry Mundy is yet another fine movie that slipped through the cracks. It deserves to find a life on DVD (or streaming at Netflix). I hope you’ll take my recommendation to check it out.
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