Keeping Mum

Rated 3.0

An English country vicar (Rowan Atkinson) doesn’t notice that his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) is sexually frustrated or that his daughter (Tamsin Egerton) is sexually promiscuous—and none of them know that the new housekeeper (Maggie Smith) is fresh from an asylum for the criminally insane. Written by Richard Russo and director Niall Johnson, the film gets by—just barely—on the powerhouse combination of Atkinson, Thomas and Smith (plus Patrick Swayze as Thomas’ predatory golf pro), but the leaden whimsy of the script taxes even their considerable talents. The pacing is sluggish, laughs are sparse and Johnson neglects to build much suspense. There’s a halfhearted plot twist in the third act and an ending that’s probably meant to be ironic, but only adds to the film’s general air of lassitude.