A feather-light Irish comedy from director Aileen Ritchie, "American Women" (originally called "The Closer You Get") stars Kieran O'Donnagh (Ian Hart) as the leader of a group of Irish single men who decide, after seemingly being unable to find any single women interested in them locally, put an ad in a US paper seeking American women to come over to Ireland to join them for the annual dance.
The area women don't take kindly to the idea once they find out and start figuring out how they can turn the tables on the men, eventually deciding on inviting Spanish men to join them. Of course, the women have had their eyes on the local men for a while, but the group of not-particularly-bright males are too dim to see that they actually have a lot of prospects that aren't from the other side of the ocean.
The question of whether American women will actually ever show up is pushed to the background while the movie concenrates on studying the various colorful characters in the town and the light verbal battle between the town's men and women. Unfortunately, while this is often cute, the film's 93-minute running time can't consistently sustain the intrest with a plot that's generally pretty thin and rather uneventful.
Although the plot is somewhat stretched out to fit the running time, the performances are generally quite good, especially Ian Hart ("Backbeat") as the apparent leader of the group seeking to import women. The film also offers several fine supporting efforts, including: Niamh Cusack as Kate and, as Kieran's butchershop assistant, Cathleen Bradley.
Overall, this was a cute (if not particularly memorable) little comedy, with some great locations.
VIDEO: "American Women" is presented by Fox in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame, with each edition on its own side of a dual-sided/single-layered disc. Despite only being made in 2000, the film looked older than that. Sharpness and detail were inconsistent and, at best, the picture only looked mildly crisp. Some interior scenes looked murky and soft.
While they were mostly isolated towards the front of the movie, there were some fairly large specks and marks on the print used, as well as the occasional moment of grain. While the picture looks a bit cleaner as it goes on, there are still occasional moments of shimmer and edge enhancement in some scenes throughout.
Colors generally appeared bright and natural during the outdoor scenes, but could look a bit smeary and flat in some interior scenes. Additionally, flesh tones also sometimes appeared off. Overall, this was a very average effort at best.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio provides fine quality, with crisp dialogue and music. Some minor surround use - a little bit of ambience and some musical reinforcement - can occasionally be heard, but this is otherwise a pure comedy-style mix, with the audio largely up front.
EXTRAS: The trailer for this film and other films from Fox, such as "The Full Monty" (this film shares the same producer as "Monty".)
Final Thoughts: "American Women" offers fine performances and some great settings, but with a fairly slight and predictable story, the film occasionally drags a bit in the middle. The DVD offers just adequate image quality, fine sound and little in the way of supplements. Still, fans of films like "Full Monty" and "Waking Ned Divine" may want to try this as a rental.