Round Ireland with a Fridge stars British comedian Tony Hawks, and is based on his bestseller. Comedy director Ed Bye’s film delivers a tart answer to tough times.
The film is on DVD and now streaming at its website.
Comedian’s career sinks
When Hawks’ career tanks, a pal bets him 100 pounds that he can’t tote a refrigerator around Ireland within one month. The light-hearted film starts slowly but gains momentum.
Hawks can’t find his groove. Audiences only laugh at his old jokes and sight gags (like tapping a golf ball aloft 20 times in a row).
The trip begins
The Englishman surrenders and goes with the flow as he hitchhikes around the Emerald Isle. Beginning in Dublin, he visits Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Cork and Wexford.
The film sends up Irish stereotypes as Hawks trudges along the countryside, visiting pubs and boarding houses.
A friendly salesman (Sean Hughes) gives Tony a lift, and alerts national radio host Dylan Dale (uproarious Irish comedian Ed Byrne).
A host of new friends
Dale roasts Tony publicly as he tracks his progress. Soon, Tony is hailed by strangers and new friends.
Hawks meets a pretty, wisecracking reporter Roisin (Valerie O’Connor, with snarky-good delivery). Although he makes a disastrous first impression, she is still attracted to the amiable bumbler.
Talking it out
Roisin is convinced that her being a single mom will turn Tony off. Fulfilling her own prophecy, she snubs him before he can reject her. Winning Roisin’s heart becomes his quest.
When life looks bleak, Tony talks to his fridge. Round Ireland with a Fridge becomes an existential gem, a heartfelt response to loneliness.
Fridge is revered
Hawks dubs the fridge Saoirse, the Gaelic word for freedom. She is autographed by well-wishers, becoming a work of art. In some of the funniest scenes, Saoirse goes surfing, and is “christened” by a couple of nuns.
Round Ireland with a Fridge reminds me of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s impromptu comedyThe Trip.
The Tao of hitchhiking
“Hitchhiking is a rather noble pursuit,” the “Fridge Man” tells Roisin. “You set your ego to one side, plop yourself by the side of the road and wait for someone to come along and help you. And you know what? People do. ‘Cause they’re quite nice.”
Bye captures the feeling of a safe and trusting world for 90 minutes. Genuine human connection, warmth, and jolly mayhem prevail.
Hawks’ upcoming projects
Hawks will star in the 2012 dramedy Playing the Moldovans at Tennis, which he also wrote, co-directed and produced.
Hawks lists The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle as “the book he would take with him to a desert island,” according to Wikipedia. (5 out of 5 stars)
Round Ireland with a Fridge 2010 / NR / 1 hour, 30 min
Cast Overview: Tony Hawks, Ed Byrne, Josie Lawence, Sean Hughes, Valerie O’Connor, John Burke
Director: Ed Bye