Songs for AmyThursday 01 May 2014
This romantic drama centred on a jobbing band in mystical old Galway town has all the makings of a half decent romp about rock 'n' roll dreams, star-crossed lovers, and missed chances but instead decides to go on the lash and fall off a pier into the Atlantic.
Nothing wrong with that of course but you do need to do it with a modicum of style and humour. Songs for Amy lacks both. Pop star manqué and one-time EastEnders heartthrob Sean Maguire does his best with Fiona Graham’s fragmented script, which reads like it was written on the back of a sodden beer mat and then descends through levels of the painfully unfunny before hitting rock bottom at the totally unbelievable.
Maguire plays Sean O’Malley a stubbled and sensitive singer-songwriter in the dread James Morrison genre and he does a good job of wandering around Galway's streets and down by the quayside, guitar case in hand, moping about his lost love, music journalist Amy (Lorna Anderson). Seems the poor fool got so banjaxed on his stag night with fellow also-rans Alabama 3, playing themselves natch, that he didn’t make it to the church on time the next morning.
This forces dear Amy to abscond to New York where she soon falls into the arms of a creepy and shrilly obnoxious Irish American rock star of the type who actually did really exist between 1989 and 1991 before - in a rare act of good taste - record labels got bored with them.
Several questions will start to occur to even the most causal student of the iffy Irish movie at this point - do people still have their stag bashes the night before they get married? How is it that a music hack like Amy can afford to live in such fauxhemian luxury? And boy! Weren’t Alabama 3 always terrible chancers?
Anyway, Sean decides to pen a set of songs of such heart-rending brilliance that Amy will dump the Hutchence wannabe and come running back to The City of The Tribes. Who knows - Sean’s new music may be of such ineluctable romantic power that they will force a whole new generation of vapid Irish singer songwriters to just hang up their battered acoustic guitars forever and admit defeat.
The fact that we get to hear very little of said songs is sweet relief as the film trundles along from one identity crisis to another, becoming Once for a few minutes and The Hangover for another few minutes. In one scene that left me slack-jawed in awe, one of the characters wanders around the Burren with only a deeply symbolic (or something) white horse and a withered tree for company.
Throw in O’Malley’s motley crew of band mates and Patrick Bergen as a kind of Irish cross between The Dude from The Big Lebowski and the kind of bloke who hangs out in Bruxelles bangin' on about Philo, and Songs for Amy becomes a deeply silly time warp of a flick.