At this rate, the latest John Irvin film may have fiddles and farm animals in the title by the time it hits video stores.
Several months ago when it played the Boston Film Festival, Irvin's movie was known as ''The Boys From County Clare." Now it's called ''The Boys & Girl From County Clare," apparently in an effort to get the greatest mileage out of its most engaging and talked-about performance, delivered by fresh-faced Irish pop singer Andrea Corr.
This title change doesn't give the film any more heft than it had previously -- it's still as thin and frothy as the head on a pint of Guinness -- but if you're a big fan of the Celt-rock group The Corrs, then maybe it's worth the expanded labeling to give a diva her due. Most other people would say they had us at ''County Clare" anyway.
Scottish-English director Irvin (''Hamburger Hill," ''A Month By the Lake") has always been good at creating vibrant landscapes, and he's right at home in mid-1960s Ireland, where quaint mores, traditions, and musical tastes are beginning to butt heads with a Beatles-tuned world. By doting on spectacular vistas and lively pub culture, Irvin serves up a setting so warm and inviting, it's at least a seductive commercial for Aer Lingus. Unfortunately for this filmmaker, your own holidays will probably produce better stories.
In ''The Boys & Girl From County Clare," first-time screenwriter Nicholas Adams tells the highly unoriginal tale of two Irish brothers who decades ago had a major falling out -- over a dame, natch -- and haven't spoken since the younger one ran off to Liverpool, leaving a trail of broken hearts and abdicated responsibilities. Now, four-time divorcee Jimmy (Colm Meaney) is returning home to compete in an annual ceili band contest, which big brother John Joe (Bernard Hill) figures his own band stands to win again handily, regardless.
After much meandering and a few comical efforts to sabotage each other on the way to contest registration, the brothers meet, trade insults, and let the rest of their discord fizzle quickly over beers.
That's all very well and Irish, but it leaves the remaining half of the film to make something interesting out of tired abandonment themes, toothless mother-daughter catfights, and a musical competition that happens largely behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, the young romance that blossoms between John Joe's star fiddle player (Corr) and Jimmy's talented flutist (Shaun Evans) is adorable, sure, but about as dramatically complex as ''From Justin to Kelly." Corr, whose previous acting experience included minor roles in ''The Commitments" and ''Evita," doesn't even get to sing in this movie, though she does play that fiddle as if she means it.
More might have been made of the Beatles-era generation gap and countless other fertile, dissonant elements tossed too lightly into this good-natured mix. Instead, the boys and girl are from a County Clare that no one will have a problem with, and that no one will particularly remember in the morning either.