As bland and effortless to consume as a Fig Newton (sickly sweet goo included), this rote entry in the dysfunctional-family-gathers-at-a-funeral genre makes no demands on its viewers beyond a limp appeal to the tear ducts. Based on a play by Irish writer Joseph O’Connor, this largely set-bound adaptation uses flashbacks, flash-forwards and videotaped confessions to piece together the life and legacy of Dubliner Enda Doyle (an unusually engaged McDowell). The boisterous, life-loving librarian (is there any other kind?) gives up the ghost minutes into the film, whereupon his widow (Tracey) and grown children (Jurgensen, Beesley and Lynch) come together to spill the family secrets about dear old Da.
None are particularly shocking—who would cast McDowell as a faithful husband or even-tempered parent?—nor does the appearance of Enda’s extramarital squeeze at the wake offer the twist Red Roses and Petrol needs to truly come alive. This is stock material enlivened only by its cast’s willingness to prevail over the sub-TV approach of director Tamar Simon Hoffs (who last helmed 1987’s wan teen comedy The Allnighter) and a premise that’s utterly devoid of insight.