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‘Saving Grace’ Blu-ray (review)

A woman’s husband commits suicide. When faced with the financial realities he has been hiding from her, she turns to the cultivation of an illegal substance to help bridge the gap between her debts and lack of income.

Grace, played by the wonderfully talented Brenda Blethyn, is a kind and sympathetic character and you can’t help but root for her.
Unfortunately neither the script, the surrounding talent or really anything about this film can be called sympathetic.
When it was originally released, it was billed as a comedy. It’s really not funny.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have funny moments.
It does and the punchline at the end of the film is really amusing and definitely had me laughing, but films that build up to one punchline generally don’t work for me and this is no exception.
The supporting cast, including Craig Ferguson, who played Grace’s landscaper and partner in crime, Matthew, puts in a middling, journeyman performance. There is really no one of note, save a mildly amusing performance from Tcheky Karyo. I’m almost 100% certain he was cast in Kiss of the Dragon because of his performance in Saving Grace. He played a toned down version of a very similar character.
I think this brings us to the primary issue with Saving Grace. I don’t know this for certain, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Jenji Kohan saw this film, said, you know, if this was funny and sexy there would really be something here and turned it into Weeds. If you look at some of the surrounding characters in Weeds they map pretty well to Saving Grace, except Kohan’s writing is 50x funnier and the whole show is kind of sexy. There is one sexy moment in Saving Grace and they didn’t let it play out at all.
I don’t regret watching the film, because I’ve thought Brenda Blethyn was wonderful since I saw her in A River Runs Through It. Seeing her in a more demanding role as the leading lady was very nice. There just wasn’t much here.
In addition to the lackluster script and lack of humor, the visuals were just as middling. The colors were muted and that made no sense since the exteriors should have been gorgeous after this 2K remaster.  I think it takes place in Glasgow. There are some scenes that should have been truly gorgeous.  There’s a series of scenes in London where Grace is wearing a white suit that should be really visually amusing, but the humor of her outfit is completely muted by the uninspired remaster.
The pacing is fine and the editing is good, although I don’t think this was a particularly difficult film to edit. The three acts are clear and the story is cohesive. although disjointed at times. This doesn’t really surprise me since Craig Ferguson and Mark Crowdy wrote the script and it feels more like a series of failed Saturday Night Live sketches than it does a comedic film. They took one of the characters and turned it into a medical comedy called Doc Martin that ran in the UK for a while.
Extras include audio commentaries and trailer.
I think that may be the answer to what happened here. Saving Grace had good bones, but the meat never got there. The story was halfway funny. The characters were halfway developed. The resolution was… half assed, although it was the funniest part of the film.
If you like British humor you might like this. It’s not dry. It’s just not very good. If you aren’t a huge fan of everything British, pass.
2/5  stars
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