Trudy (Flora Montgomery) is a feisty thief who picks up Brendan (Peter McDonald), a quiet schoolteacher, in a Dublin pub one night. What then follows is the typical romantic comedy formula of boy meets girl, boy looses girl, and then despite their vast differences, boy gets girl back. Unfortunately this is pretty much all there is to When Brendan Met Trudy, the latest film written by Roddy Doyle (The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van).
This would not be a problem if the characters were even vaguely interesting and not so annoying. Brendan is a whingeing snob and the film tries too hard to portray Trudy as the wacky carefree type. Their actions have no apparent motivation, and it is never made clear what they see in each other in the first place. If the audience never find them appealing, then how are we expected to believe they find each other appealing? There is no chemistry between Trudy and Brendan, which is a pretty huge flaw in a romantic-comedy.
The film contains an abundance of references to other films, which quickly become tedious since they inspire neither humour nor any kind of insight. There are also some embarrassingly simplistic caricatures of the middle class, not surprising given Doyle’s previous romanticisation of the working class. While setting When Brendan Met Trudy in Dublin may appeal to some, it does not prevent the film from being dull, lifeless, and uninspired.
Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 129, 2001