Plot: What’s it about?
After their father’s funeral, the McMullen brothers discover their mother is leaving to live in Ireland with the man she loves. This comes as a shock to them, but they have their own personal issues to deal with as it is and as long as she is happy, that’s what matters. The brothers are very close and as such, have no problems discussing their troubles and revealing secrets to one another, since they trust and have faith in each other. Each of the brothers has some type of love problem and it seems as though things will never turn around for them. Jack (Jack Mulcahy) has been married for some time and is pressured to begin a family, but he feels the time just isn’t right for him. The spark has also seemed to exit the relationship, which leaves Jack wondering what to do at this point. Things aren’t much better for Barry (Edward Burns), who finds him torn between the flame of true love and the flash of success, both of which he has never felt before. He has never given much thought to commitment before, but this could be the time to let things get serious…or is it? The final brother, Patrick (Mike McGlone) thinks he might have one true love of his life, but issues with religion and begins to have doubts of his own. Sooner or later these three will have to make some decisions, but will they make the correct choices?
While I have never been a romantic comedy fan, the films of Ed Burns often win me over. Especially She’s the One and this movie, The Brothers McMullen. I am a sucker for a dialogue driven picture and Burns crafts a real winner with this, his debut motion picture. The low budget (Burns made this movie for around $25,000) doesn’t hamper things in the least, as Burns uses a natural and non spectacular approach to the movie. You don’t need special effects and massive set designs, when you can just shoot on the run and in your friends’ apartments, right? The film inspires because it was made with so little resources, yet delivers a full cinematic experience, so Burns turned some real magic here.
The man who fuels this film is Edward Burns, who some of you folks might remember from Saving Private Ryan. Before he donned the fatigues though, he wrote and directed this film, The Brothers McMullen. Burns made this film on a low budget and used his friends & family as much as he could, but in the end his work overcomes all limitations. As a writer Burns conjures up some natural, but interesting characters and places them into some unique situations, but ones we can still relate to. This movie seems so natural from start to finish it is amazing, but Burns makes sure we have plenty to laugh and connect with. As a director Burns is rather basic, but always comes away with just the right angle or placement. So while you won’t be dizzy from the camerawork, you’ll always see just what you’d like to. I think this basic style is highly effective and works just as well in She’s The One. Finally, Burns works in front of the camera as well and turns in a sparkling performance. I can’t imagine the difficulty involved in doing all these tasks, but Burns comes through with flying colors. This cast also includes Maxine Bahns (Chick Flick, Spin Cycle), Jack Mulcahy (Porky’s), Connie Britton (Tv’s Spin City), and Mike McGlone (The Bone Collector, One Tough Cop).
Video: How does it look?
The Brothers McMullen is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. This transfer might seem shaky if you’ve never viewed the film before, but given the source, it looks quite good. Shot on 16mm, the movie produces a wide variance on quality from scene to scene, so don’t expect perfection. Some scenes look clean and crisp, while others have softness, with all points in between also struck numerous times. So this might not measure up to the slick, polished transfers out there, but this is a sizable improvement over the DVD and fans will greatly appreciate that.
Audio: How does it sound?
A DTS HD mono soundtrack is provided and while passable, the sound design isn’t memorable. All of the elements sound clear and audible, but there just isn’t much life or depth. This is mono however, so that is to be expected. The music sounds good, while dialogue is easy to understand and suffers from no issues. Not much else to say really, a solid but unremarkable soundtrack. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes audio comments from Edward Burns, two behind the scenes featurettes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.