Whole Lotta Sole

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Belfast-born filmmaker Terry George returns to his homeland with “Whole Lotta Sole” (DVD title: “Stand Off”), a light-hearted crime comedy that — oh, what? Did I lose you at “light-hearted crime comedy”? Yes, the man who directed and co-wrote heavy films like “Hotel Rwanda” and “Reservation Road” has taken the silly path for once, conjuring an unoriginal but fun caper that reads like something out of Elmore Leonard. The ensemble features Brendan Fraser as Maguire, the American cousin of a Belfast shopkeeper who has come to Ireland to lie low for a while, for undisclosed reasons. Through a series of random events and misunderstandings, Maguire gets into an ad hoc hostage situation controlled by a desperate young father named Jimbo (Martin McCann), who has robbed a fishmonger in order to pay back notorious local gangster Mad Dog Flynn (David O’Hara). Also involved are a couple of trailer-trash kids, an old-fashioned police inspector (Colm Meaney), and various colorful ne’er-do-wells. Maguire’s hollow romance with another shopkeeper (Yaya DaCosta) rings false, and the screenplay (which George co-wrote with Thomas Gallagher) peels off more layers of mystery than it can handle. But the film is good-natured, jaunty and amusing, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, and consistently watchable.

B- (1 hr., 29 min.; R, a lot of profanity.)