Starring: Shawn Hatosy, Jon Abrahams,
Tommy Bone, Jonathan Brandis,
Amy Smart, George Wendt, &
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films
Director: Michael Corrente
Producer: Michael Corrente, Peter
Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, &
Writer: Peter Farrelly, Micheal
Corrente & Bobby Farrelly
BASED ON: A novel by Peter
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Following the same formula as MARY, a seeming innocent explores forbidden, and usually gross, forms of humor. Timothy Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) is always in trouble with his father (Alec Baldwin) in the mid 1970s. After crashing into a parked police car, Timothy is packed off to boarding school, where he's out of place, outclassed and outnumbered. He can't compete with his high bred counterparts. Nevertheless, he finds like-minded friends and soon they are hiding under a willow tree smoking dope.
Soon, he meets Jane Weston (Amy Smart), and they become a couple, mainly studying together and smoking more dope together. At boarding school, Timothy doesn't become more responsible, but he does become a little wiser. He outwits the Resident Assistant, appeals to the Brown University Admissions Board to let in Jane, studies a little harder due to Jane's pleading, befriends his effeminate whiny roommate, and gets a little closer to his widowed father.
OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE doesn't have much of a story, but it does have lots of likeable characters. As far as audience appeal, this movie rises above the very weak DETROIT ROCK CITY which covers the same territory - teenage rebellion. Each character is well defined and has his own charm. Nevertheless, despite a veneer of innocence and fun, this is a rough group - always smoking pot and always getting into trouble. At the end, rules still aren't respected, but some character growth occurs - some.
The very vulgar Alec Baldwin as a gruff but loving father may put off moral audiences. Baldwin constantly calls Timothy a nickname - a reference to a sexual toy - and this term is continually annoying. Another scene has George Wendt (of CHEERS fame) outing himself as a homosexual to his poker playing buddies. It is quite an extraneous scene - not necessary to the main action. Furthermore, it seems that every third scene or so has Timothy lighting up marijuana. Strangely, many nostalgic movies that look at the 70s seem to demand obligatory marijuana use.
OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE seems to be going after the same crowd as MARY, but its low budget, darker themes and photography and lack of stars may contribute to its under-performance. It functions primarily as a pet project for Peter Farrelly, while perhaps encouraging vulnerable youths to light up and rebel.