Though it might not be deserving of the wild cheers it received following the press screening, Irina Palm is quirky enough to entertain, if not a little too melodramatic. Recently, there's been a wave of "conservative middle-aged women take part in bizarre sexually-related acts for a good cause"-type flicks (see: Calendar Girls). So, it's not surprising to see filmmakers trying to up the ante -- add a tad more edge -- and see how the crowd reacts. Here in Europe, they go crazy for stuff like this; back home in the States ... not so much. We'd rather see Lindsay Lohan in bizarre sexually-related acts than a woman old enough to be, and playing, a grandmother. A chuckle or three is enough to get people in the seats these days, and Irina Palm has more -- yet, with its predictable plot and awkward tone shifts, it's hard to declare it a must see.
Maggie (Marianna Faithfull), a widowed grandmother, has found herself stuck between a rock and a really hard place: Her grandson is sick, and without the proper treatment, he could die within the next two months. When a new experimental surgery becomes available, Maggie -- along with her son and daughter-in-law -- jump at the chance to sign little Ollie up. However, there's a catch: while the surgery is pro bono, the family must fly from England to Australia since that's the only place the operation can be performed. Having already sold her house, as well as accepted a generous amount of donations from friends and neighbors living in her uptight, conservative community, Maggie is completely tapped out of funds. And so are Ollie's parents. With large amounts of debt piling up and no bank willing to give her a loan, employment agencies practically laugh in her face; an elderly woman, with no prior work experience, looking for a job? Yeah, right.