Directed by Kieron J Walsh, starring Peter McDonald and Flora Montgomery
Rating: 15

Brendan (McDonald) is a schoolteacher who lives his life through the movies: watching his favourites ad nauseum, daydreaming scenarios during his classes and boring everyone with his anorak knowledge of who was the tea boy of choice at the height of new wave cinema. But life becomes more exciting than his celluloid inspirations when he crosses paths with Trudy (Montgomery), a fiery pint scrounger who claims to be a Montessori teacher but really earns a crust as a burglar.

It seems that 2001 will be remembered as the year when we finally got the knack of romantic comedy - first Gerry Stembridge's ménage-a-quatre 'About Adam' and now Kieron J Walsh's wickedly funny tale of stolen hearts and nicked computers. In his debut feature, Walsh makes superb use of Roddy Doyle's gag-charged script: drawing hilarious performances from both leads (McDonald deliciously deadpan, Montgomery wide-eyed and reckless) and depicting a quirky Dublin which is neither lost in boom time excess or manacled by the twee notion that we're all great fun and love a drink.

The entire film sparkles with an irreverent wit, spinning on multiple film references and the recreation of famous scenes. In between knowing tributes to the likes of 'Sunset Boulevard', 'The Quiet Man' and 'A Bout de Souffle (Breathless)', there are also some prize potshots at the media and the dull as dishwater dynamics of Christmas in suburbia, but they never come across as cynical or calculating. With characters as rich and opposite as those of Brendan and Trudy, the temptation to dwell on the love story angle must have been there, but neither Walsh nor Doyle let pillow talk get in the way of a good laugh and while the pacing dips somewhat during the last 20 minutes, the closing moments will weld a year-long grin on your face.

Harry Guerin