The Irish are the epitome of humour. Their language, lifestyle and humour do not need to be improved, added to or refined in order to be acceptable and funny to others outside of the United Kingdom. A Whole Lotta Sole, although quite humorous, seems to be a lukewarm attempt at bringing the Irish to an American audience.
Released in North America as The Stand Off in 2012, A Whole Lotta Sole is an independent comedy set in Belfast, Ireland, and centred on an American refugee, who is hiding out from his former life, and his allegedly estranged son, who his hiding out from his current life.
Jim (Martin McCann), a young unemployed father, gets caught up in gambling debt with the local mobster Mad Dog Flynn (David O’Hara) and decides to rob the local fishmongers. After the robbery goes awry he turns to the only person who he thinks he can rely on, an American stranger (Brendan Fraser), who runs the local pawn shop and his love interest, Sophie (Yaya DaCosta). This comedy of errors quickly turns into a hostage situation drawing attention from both the mob and the local police force headed up by detective Weller (Colm Meansey).
Trying to take classic Irish humour and gear it towards an American audience doesn’t seem to work as well in reality as it sounds in pre-production. It actually feels like a bit of a sell-out. Anyone with good taste, and an appreciation of different cultures, would enjoy Irish humour without having it ‘dumbed’ down. With this being said, there are some potentially really funny moments with interesting characters who did not sit back and rely on Fraser to bring the funny. Fraser is properly the dullest character in the film. It is only when they are stuck in the thick of the crime does he have the opportunity to show us his quintessential style.
Otherwise it is actually quite enjoyable, there are some good moments, funny characters and interesting twists in the narrative that will keep you marginally entertained if you are in the mood for it. It has to be said, though, that the former IRA grandfather is probably one of the funniest parts of the film.