When Brandan Met Trudy

Self-consciously movieish to a fault, When Brendan Met Trudy, Kieron J. Walsh's feature debut, is an offbeat, mildly engaging Irish romantic comedy that panders to its viewers. Based on the first original script by Roddy Doyle (The Commitments), this two-character comedy follows the ups and downs of the peculiar affair between Brendan (Peter McDonald), a teacher and movie buff, and Trudy (Flora Montgomery), a petty burglar, after their first awkward meeting in a pub. There may be a small theatrical audience for this intermittently funny movie anchored by strong perfs.

Almost every scene recreates or alludes to a Hollywood or foreign classic, from opening shot in which Brendan lies down on a Dublin street face-down a puddle, imitating William Holden in Sunset Boulevard. Story then flashes back to how he got to this point, and how he became involved with Trudy's criminal life. Rather schematically, pic tests the theory of opposites attract: Brendan is an introvert loner with a passion for singing, Trudy is a sexy extrovert and wild animal party.

Predictably, the encounter between his family and the unrestrained Trudy leads to arguments and splits. Recreations of scenes from Breathless and The Searcher are amusing, but writing and direction are uneven, and last reel, in which the imprisoned Trudy asks Brendan to sing Panis Angelicus, strikes a fake note.