May 29, 2018  (Web Review)

Celtic Soul

(2017) 86 min. DVD: $24.99 ($299 w/PPR from edu.passionriver.com). Passion River (avail. from most distributors).

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Canadian comic actor Jay Baruchel teams up here with renowned sports writer Eoin O’Callaghan in a family roots search that also involves a soccer pilgrimage. Traveling east from Canada to Ireland and Scotland, the two bond over good conversation, jokes, and a passion to find Baruchel’s Old World relatives. Along the way, they meet a number of delightful people, try their leg strength kicking a ball in an energy scanner (they’re both beat by an Olympian-caliber women’s soccer player), and end up in soccer heaven at Glasgow’s Paradise stadium, watching hometown Celtic play. Baruchel is pumped to be cheered by the crowd when he is introduced, but there’s never any feeling that this is a celebrity film. While it is somewhat reminiscent of The Trip (a fictionalized buddy road trip movie with Steve Coogan), filmmaker Michael McNamara’s Celtic Soul is a straightforward documentary about two guys in a car with a lot of ground to cover. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (T. Keogh)