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Saving Grace

Once past the age of 22, most reasonably intelligent people get over thinking that pot humor is really funny. So why the marketing folks at New Line thought that selling the Brit comedy Saving Grace as a movie about being high is befuddling — and the cutesy taglines used in the ads are inexcusable: "The joint venture that will have you rolling in the aisles" ... "Take the high road to a comedy that truly lights up." And the quote on the DVD's case (from New York Post critic Lou Lumenick) "A real high ... with laughs to spare!" Please. Saving Grace is a charming, if lightweight, comedy about a housewife with a serious green thumb named Grace (Brenda Blethyn, Oscar-nominated for Secrets and Lies and Little Voice) whose husband takes a leap from an airplane without a parachute, leaving her with no income, a huge pile of debt left behind from his failed business ventures, and a gorgeous manor home on the Cornish coast with an enormous mortgage. A gifted gardener, she helps her Scottish groundskeeper Matthew (Craig Ferguson, of TV's "The Drew Carey Show") nurse one of his ailing pot plants back to life in her greenhouse, and they hit on a plan — they'll grow a crop of pot hydroponically, make a pile of money, and save her home. While lacking much beyond that in the way of a plot, Saving Grace is a pleasant enough way to while away an hour-and-a-half, falling as it does into that niche of comedies about picturesque English/Irish/Welsh/Scottish villages filled with charming eccentrics like Local Hero, Waking Ned Divine, The Full Monty, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, But Came Down a Mountain and their ilk. It certainly offers nothing new to the genre, but it's pretty to look at and extremely likeable, if awfully predictable. The film picks up in the last third, when Grace takes it upon herself to travel to London in her most stylish white pantsuit and matching hat to search for a vendor to buy her crop. Hippie street-dealer Vince (British comedian Bill Bailey) sets her up with his money-man, a suave-yet-sinister Frenchman (the always-wonderful Tchéky Karyo, memorable from La Femme Nikita, The Patriot, Addicted To Love and a slew of other films) while Matthew and the village doctor (Martin Clunes) almost botch everything by trying to protect her. Hijinks ensue, everything is resolved rather conveniently and quickly, and one is left feeling that Saving Grace is the movie equivalent of a light snack — you aren't left feeling hungry, but you didn't get much in the way of nourishment. New Line's DVD edition offers a bright, crisp transfer of a visually lovely film, in a letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1) format and audio in Dolby Digital 5.1.Also include a commentary track with Blethyn and Ferguson (who co-wrote and co-produced the film), cast and crew notes, and the theatrical trailer. Snap-case.
—Dawn Taylor



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