Poster Boys review – uncle-nephew bonding on a rocky Irish road trip

Surprisingly few films feature uncle-nephew bonding that isn’t straight-up creepy, but this Irish comedy is all about a depressed single man named Al (Trevor O’Connell) looking after his sister’s smart but cheeky pre-adolescent kid Karl (Ryan Minogue-Lee) for a week. It was apparently partly inspired by the relationship between writer-director Dave Minogue, making his feature debut here, and his pint-sized star, who is his own nephew in real life. Perhaps that real-life inspiration accounts for the authentic feel in the connection between the two leads, relatives who at first barely know each other but who grow close during a road trip around the Republic.

The plot is pretty thinly drawn – perhaps with the same magic marker that Al uses to draw a moustache on Karl’s face, which creates an unlikely excuse to keep him out of school for week so the kid can help him distribute posters to shops around the country. The jaunt turns into a procession of comic encounters with shop owners, random strangers and even passing mime artists – it gets a little too self-consciously and self-congratulatorily quirky, evoking a very Celtic romanticisation of eccentricity. There’s a little shade thrown when the film invokes a friend of Al who killed themself, as well as the economic difficulties of living in Dublin, but on the whole the mood is sunny and jocular, and it’s hard not to be a little impressed with the fact that the film-makers pulled this off on a reportedly teensy budget.

Poster Boys is released on 9 July in cinemas.


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