Reviews at Home – T.V. Movie
The Luck of the Irish (2001 T.V. Movie)
by Kevin Conner
IMDB Entry and source image credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274636/
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“The Luck of the Irish” is a made for T.V. movie distributed by Walt Disney Television, and it’s enjoyably fun!
Kyle Johnson (Ryan Merriman) is a normal kid, with no known ancestry, living a normal American life, in a normal American city. After all, he’s Kyle Johnson, he’s a good student, a good boy, a great athlete, just because some people are obsessed about where their ancestors came from doesn’t mean he has to be, too! The movie begins with a school assignment to find out about his family history. Thinking he has nothing special about him, he doesn’t think he’ll receive that great of a grade, while his friends have fantastic stories of how their family immigrated to the United States.
Then, after visiting a carnival, he loses his family coin, and that begins a sequence of events which involve his Irish Grandfather (played by Henry Gibson), a mother who starts speaking in classic Irish terminology (Marita Geraghty), and a real jerk of a protagonist who wants to steal all of the family’s magic (Timothy Omundson), oh, umm… did I forget to mention that Kyle discovers he’s half leprechaun, and his grandfather hates his human father?! Yeah, that’s a big part of the story.
Unlike so, so many other stories which involve a kid SUDDENLY discovering he’s magical, this movie is not sappy, this movie is not “wink and smile” “oh dear, we didn’t want to tell you”, after school special “something magical is happening to your body, so we’re letting you discover it for yourself”, style horrible writing. This movie is exceedingly practical, while very, very magically funny.
Kyle’s powers were hidden from him because, well, his family is basically involved in a self-induced leprechaun style witness protection program. Why? Because the evil leprechaun wants the family powers, and because of some awful leprechaun magic rules, the boy has to have the coin in his possession or they may lose their powers (let alone the spell that hides their leprechaun nature). Keeping the info from Kyle, because he was a bit too young, was probably a practical thing to do, especially considering the fact they weren’t sure if he’d misuse the magic at such a young and immature age. What I’m trying to say is: the way the writers handled the concept of him not knowing he was a leprechaun was actually very believable, not overdone, not pushing the audience’s suspension of disbelief, and very funny. I would love to give you examples of the sight gags, but, that would just ruin half of the movie.
The production, sound and editing are all right on, although I would argue the editing of the first 20 minutes wasn’t the best (it was still good). The special effects, specifically, are in line, and spot on, for a well done T.V. movie, providing for some enjoyable tongue in cheek gags and imagery.
The acting is medium to top notch for a Disney movie, and very easily 3 and 1/2 stars. It is a kid movie, so expect some fun kooky acting; but, it’s fun kooky acting, not overblown hamfisted acting. The performances in this show are in line with great episodes you might see in “The Wild Wild West”, “I Dream of Jeannie” or Adam West’s “Batman”.
The direction is decent to very good, easily 3 1/2 stars, and two of the major positive points I have about direction involve alteration of the script (when he realized it was going to be a trainwreck if it wasn’t altered), and the complete lack of a laugh track (Disney, you need to eliminate your laugh tracks in your t.v. shows!).
The script is good, but it could’ve been horrible. It starts with Kyle narrating the story, and the first 15 minutes are dull, dry and lagging. Thankfully, the show quickly begins to turn around, and by the 30 minute mark becomes an entirely enjoyable movie. One can only guess that the first 15-25 minutes were directed prior to the dailies. Once the dailies were viewed, the director and scriptwriters quickly decided to shift gears an trim the script up a bit more tightly. This resulted in a much more energetic production from the last half-hour on. Do not judge this movie until you see Henry Gibson and Timothy Omundson appear on screen. If you see their interactions, and judge that this movie isn’t for you, then the movie may not be for you. However, if you love kooky, goofy fun kid shows, and you love at least these two actors, you will most likely enjoy this one.
If you’re looking for a fun, magical, St. Patrick’s day kid oriented family movie – you should definitely watch this!
Direction: 3 1/2
Script: 3 1/2
Acting: 3 1/2
Editing: 3 1/2
Overall (rounded up) 4 out of 4
Cast and Production Information
(with many more)
Mark Edward Edens (as Mark Edens)
Just Singer Entertainment