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Zonad


Take me to your leader — no rush.

Rod Lott July 12th, 2011

Just a few years ago, writer/director John Carney had one of the three finest films of the year with his resplendent, soul-touching, eventual Oscar-winning “Once.” He’s in no such danger with his follow-up project, “Zonad.”

zonad

The intentionally goofy comedy — starting with the title — focuses on a middle-class Irish family whose members become utterly charmed by the sudden arrival of an alien to their home, following a comet streaking above the night sky. The visitor — a fat man in a red suit who calls himself Zonad (Simon Delaney, “Amazing Grace”) — is all-too-warmly accepted.

Eleven minutes in, we learn what we expect: that he’s not from outer space, but an alcoholic escapee from a mental ward. Yet the ever-clueless Cassidy family welcomes him nonetheless, especially busty teen daughter Jenny (Janice Byrne, TV’s “Primeval”) who’s eager to lose the virginity her dimwit boyfriend (Rory Keenan, “Ella Enchanted”) refuses to take. Before long, the town is agog over him, but the ruse threatens to come crashing down when another “alien,” named Bonad (David Pearse, “Laws of Attraction”), shows up.

“Zonad” is an easygoing comedy that seems to giggle at itself from the corner, and it has its share of moments. But it feels like a lark — a sketch expanded beyond its natural boundaries. While it never becomes tiresome, it simply runs out of energy, freshness and ideas. How else to explain the climax’s use of that surefire comedy killer: intentionally sped-up film (to the tune of Tomoyasu Hotel’s smashing instrumental “Battle Without Honor of Humanity,” better-known as the unofficial theme to Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”).

I didn’t realize until afterward that, indeed, Carney first shot “Zonad” as a 2003 short, and with Cillian Murphy (“Batman Begins,” “28 Days Later”) in the boyfriend role. It’s too bad it’s not included on the DVD for comparison.

“Zonad” provides mild amusement, but I wouldn’t want to see it again. Oh, well, at least know I’m aware of Byrne’s talents. —Rod Lott


 
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