Greed is an interesting thing, one of the seven deadly sins which sometimes brings out the very worst in people. Money is a very attractive motivator and in desperate times, can turn good-natured individuals into devious scoundrels. The Irish dramedy Life’s a Breeze does focus on greed and the unfortunate effect it has on family but it does it in a way that is light and at times, rather farcical. It is a film about family, first and foremost, and how something as material as money can either bring the family together or tear it apart.
Nan (Fionnula Flannagan) is an aging woman living by her lonesome in gritty part of Dublin, Ireland. Her family consists of oddball slackers who mean well but end up irritating Nan to no end. The “leader” of the clan is Colm (Pat Shortt), a middle-aged neurotic who takes it upon himself to tidy up Nan’s home which is littered with junk including old newspapers and a worn out mattress (which actually contains about one million pounds of the sweet lady’s money). When Nan finds out that the mattress has been thrown out during the cleanup, she and her motley crew of family members go on a citywide search to recover the money.
Life’s a Breeze isn’t your typical family dramedy. It has a unique type of humor characterized by quirkiness and total obliviousness from its members, specifically from Pat Shortt (The Guard, Garage). Most of the film’s laughs come from this gentleman whose optimistic fool persona keeps things light and fun. Fionnula Flannagan (The Others, Yes Man)counters his absurd nature with a stone face much of the picture and an unwillingness to accept her family members cleaning up her dwelling. The performances in the film are very strong, especially from these two but there is a third star here who shines just as brightly. Newcomer Kelly Thornton is an absolute delight and her devotion to the role of Emma is one of the film’s strongest aspects. She has a maturity few actors her age possess and this is a welcome addition to any film’s cast.
At a brisk 88 minutes, Life’s a Breeze has the air of a zany sitcom. The characters are colorful and writer/director Lance Daly (Kisses, The Halo Effect) keeps things moving at an adequate pace, with an array of locations all over the Dublin area. The Irishness of the film isn’t too apparent, giving the movie a universal appeal. In their quest to retrieve the fortune, the family ends up in some precarious situations all the while Nan looks on and glares at Colm with an “I told you so” look. The film’s script is tight and with all of the family members delivering their dialogue in an expert fashion, audiences will undoubtedly enjoy themselves. While not a big Hollywood blockbuster, Life’s a Breeze is a noble effort from Lance Daly. It is an Irish export that tells a funny story in a light and charming way and it definitely has the potential to become a cult hit in the United States.
Life’s a Breeze will have a limited theatrical release on September 19th, 2014