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Outside Providence

(1999) no stars R
96 min. Miramax. Director: Michael Corrente. Cast: Shawn Hatosy, Tommy Bone, Samantha Lavigne, Jonathan Brandis, Adam La Vorgna.
Would you believe a positively endearing gay character in a Farrelly Brothers movie? What, are they getting soft? Okay, the movie is directed by Michael Corrente (American Buffalo), and released by Miramax, and the character is only in a couple of scenes. But the film, Outside Providence, is based on the novel by Peter Farrelly, who co-wrote the screenplay with brother Bobby and Corrente. After movies like Dumb and Dumber, the cheery acceptance of homosexuality strikes an odd chord, but then, nothing in this film works anyway. Outside Providence seems, in fact, to be a jaw-droppingly unaware self-parody. This '70s coming-of-age story about a ne'er-do-well teen (Shawn Hatosy) sent to prep school by his couch-potato father (Alec Baldwin) layers cliche upon cliche, and offers nothing to make you forget you're watching a bad movie. All you get are the suburban druggies, the angelic love interest, and the asshole dean. After wading through numerous witless montages set to '70s pop tunes (including one that recaps earlier montages), you won't care about the one novelty: that Baldwin's poker buddy George Wendt turns out to be gay. You'll just be weeping for the lost minutes of your life.
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