Keeping Mum | Chicago Reader

Keeping Mum

The limply punning title should give a good idea of the humor level in this British dark comedy (2005) about a homicidal housekeeper (Maggie Smith) who insinuates herself into a village vicar's unhappy family. Rowan Atkinson is the frumpy father, Kristin Scott Thomas his neglected wife, and Patrick Swayze her illicit lover, a sleazy American golf pro. The couple's teenage daughter can't keep her legs crossed, and their young son is hounded by schoolyard bullies. But once Smith arrives the family's problems begin to disappear—some to the bottom of a nearby pond. Director Niall Johnson struggles to find the proper tone: the serial murders aren't horrible enough to be funny, and the characters don't respond as if they're horrible at all. As a result the black humor thins into gray fog. R, 103 min.

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