Evelyn is one of those films that American audiences invariably categorise as 'quaint'. You know the sort andndash; plucky kids, a desperate father trying to make a difference, people drinking themselves into a stupor and everyone talking with a vaguely ridiculous accent. You know, begorrah! And though Evelyn is loosely based on a true story, massive liberties have been taken with the facts to facilitate a steady undercurrent of sentimentality. Despite being unable to muster anything even resembling a Dublin accent, Brosnan isn't too bad as Desmond Doyle, an unemployed painter and decorator in the 1950s. As he's fond of a few pints down the local, Desmond's wife gets tired of minding her three kids on a pittance and so abandons her family and heads off to Australia. With three kids to mind -who include the impossibly cute title character (Vavasseur) - and no job, it's no surprise that Doyle soon finds he can't cope. Enter the bad big bureaucrats, who pack his kids off to schools around the country. Vowing to get his children back, Desmond employs the services of a couple of legal types (Rea, Quinn) and a boozy former trial lawyer (Bates) to take on the state's archaic laws.
Had the filmmakers not been so determined to drench virtually every frame in a dewy-eyed sentimentality and forced nostalgia, Evelyn may have been a more bearable excursion. As it is, the slight Evelyn trundles along rather aimlessly, with twee stereotypes acting as substitutes for real dramatic urgency and character development. As an actor Brosnan does his best with the underwritten, trite material. As a producer, however, he should be ashamed of himself