Rory O'Shea Was Here

Rated R 2005

The pair of appealing Irish boys we meet in Damien O'Donnell's bittersweet comedy are the latest in a long line of wheelchair-bound movie heroes trying to cope. But the boisterous title character (played by the energetic James McAvoy) actually has more in common with the asylum rebel McMurphy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest than with Marlon Brando in The Men or Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July. A natural-born rebel with a gift for hilarious banter, Rory (who suffers from muscular dystrophy) draws a meek cerebral palsy victim (Steven Robertson) into his vortex, and the two of them cut and slash their way to independence -- misspending charity funds on a boozy spree and gleefully manipulating the authorities to get their own flat, which they call "cripple heaven." There are a few gooey moments here, but no triumphant sentimentalism. With Romola Garai as the buxom, sweet-tempered supermarket clerk who becomes the young men's nurse -- and a powerful force in their education.

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