Outside Providence (1999)

“You wouldn’t know a classy broad if she took a dump on your head.” They gather atop a water tower in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to smoke pot, talk about sex and wax philosophic about their dismal future. The gang includes Tim “Dunph” Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) and his best friend, “Drugs” Delaney (Jon Abrahams). These burnouts all have stringy long hair, bad teeth and shitty morale. While the kids are busy getting high and creating mayhem, their folks are sitting inside playing poker, drinking beer and insulting each other. And now for the major plot twist: Dunph gets in trouble with the cops and his dad decides to send him to an exclusive boarding school. So we’re prepared for this working-class kid to encounter all sorts of troubles as he arrives (after hitchhiking) at the school with a garbage bag full of clothes. However, Dunph makes friends with a group of fellow potheads almost immediately after he sets foot on campus and soon resumes his carefree lifestyle. He even ends up dating one of the hottest chicks on campus, “Jane Weston” (Amy Smart). In fact, for a “coming-of-age” flick, Outside Providence is astoundingly free of conflict. Whereas something like Dead Poets Society featured betrayal, suicide and redemption, Outside Providence has little to offer beyond its raunchy sense of humor and self-reflexive ’70s nostalgia. However, those two aspects of the film were enough to keep me adequately entertained for 106 minutes. Some of the more humorous scenes revolve around the supporting cast. For instance, it’s a riot when “Drugs” Delaney sends Dunph a drug-laced letter that is accidentally intercepted by the prep school’s director, who reads it aloud to a humiliated Dunph: “You should tell that piece of shit Thunderturd to shove it . . . “Oh yes, there’s a postcript you might be interested in—Mousy says he stinkfingered Bunny Cote.” Another classic scene is when the school’s No. 1 geek, “Jizz,” gets stabbed in the head with a dart after refusing to move away from the dartboard. Also be prepared for the “mental floss” demonstration and the explanation for how “Jizz” got his nickname. Such throwaway scenes are what give this film the momentum for a minor recommendation. In addition, Alec Baldwin gave me a few laughs as “Old Man Dunphy,’ a leaden, working-class imbecile who calls his own son “Dildo.” Also look for George Wendt as Old Man Dunphy’s buddy, “Joey,” who comes out of the closet during a weekly poker game. Outside Providence was directed by Michael Corrente, produced by the Farrelly brothers and based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Peter Farrelly. Critic Roger Ebert gave this thing 1 1/2 stars, calling it “badly written and severely miscast.” Scenes from Outside Providence were filmed at the University of Rhode Island.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu