Directed by Danny De Vito, starring Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Eileen Essel, Robert Wisdom, James Remar, Harvey Fierstein and Justin Theroux.

Writer Alex Rose (Stiller) and journalist Nancy Kendricks (Barrymore) want to move out of Manhattan and start a family. They think they've found the perfect place in Brooklyn, with space, character, potential - and a study where Alex can complete his due soon book. There's just one problem: an elderly upstairs tenant called Mrs Connelly. But convinced that Mrs Connelly will be taking up a tenancy not of this earth in the very near future, Alex and Nancy decide to buy. Little do they know that the antics of the old Irish schemer might find them beating her to the undertakers.

Expecting Stiller to look stressed and Barrymore to look sweet isn't exactly demanding too much of your stars, and De Vito's film is a routine comedy punctuated by a few above average gags. Most of the humour comes from Essell's codger from hell who, despite having an accent that stops off in Ireland, England and Scotland in the course of 90 minutes, steals the picture. Torturing her landlords with 'Hawaii Five-O' reruns, leaky pipes,
brass band rehearsals and decades of fine-tuned passive aggression, you wouldn't wish her on your worst enemies. Well, maybe your best friends if they could afford to buy a house like this.

Writer Larry Doyle ('The Simpsons', 'Beavis and Butt-head') contrasts the elderly playing the age card to their own advantage with the ends successful youth will go to in order to get what they want, but this film could've been far darker and, as a result, funnier. Taking the easiest way out, it ends with everyone smiling. You could be disappointed - but don't feel too guilty for thinking Mrs Connelly should've tasted a lot more of her own medicine.

Harry Guerin