Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
France/United Kingdom/USA, 2000. Film Foundry Partners, GreeneStreet Films, Intermedia Films, SKE Films, Union Générale Cinématographique, Wind Dancer Productions. Screenplay by Peter Askin, Douglas McGrath. Cinematography by Russell Boyd. Produced by Guy East, Rick Lead, John Penotti, James W. Skotchdopole. Music by David Lawrence. Production Design by Jane Musky. Costume Design by Ruth Myers. Film Editing by Camilla Toniolo.
Douglas McGrath plays an earnest American grammar teacher whose wife (Sigourney Weaver) aspires to higher social standing. Unable to take the pressure from her or his father-in-law anymore, McGrath lies and tells them that he’s a covert agent from the CIA who has to masquerade as a schoolteacher for cover. The real CIA gets wind of the story and decides to put him to work in Cuba, where he accidentally initiates the Bay of Pigs invasion and subsequently the Cuban Missile Crisis. The political Forrest Gump plotline that puts an accidental tourist in the middle of true events of history should be foolproof, but unfortunately not one laugh is to be had from this dull comedy. The acting is a highlight, particularly a zesty Weaver and an unbilled Woody Allen (who frequently casts McGrath in his films and co-wrote Bullets Over Broadway with him) as the head of operations in Havana who wears a beret and dreams of his days working in France. Make sure you stay through the end credits until the very last title card passes up and the only funny scene appears in an outtake.