In their rush to be "original," a lot of new directors have taken their admiration of Quentin Tarantino ("Pulp Fiction") and/or Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting") way too far. But perhaps we should give credit to the makers of "I Went Down" for trying to combine elements of both.

Not that director Paddy Breathnach or screenwriter Conor McPherson are completely successful. In fact, this uneven dark comedy-thriller from Ireland counters every clever move with an equally clunky one, which makes for a pretty frustrating cinematic experience.

Still, it's better than most of its ilk and benefits from great chemistry between co-stars Peter McDonald and Brendan Gleeson.

McDonald stars as Git Hynes, a young ex-con living in Dublin. Perhaps too nice for his own good, Git gets dragged into a conflict between his best friend and the loan shark (Tony Doyle) he owes big-time.

When Git roughs up his thugs, the hood threatens to kill his friend unless he does him a favor by accompanying tough-guy wannabe Bunny Kelly (Gleeson) on a trip to pick up the loan shark's business "associate" Frank Grogan (Peter Caffrey).

Though the two succeed in snatching the unwilling man, they also befriend him. As a result, he reveals the "real" reason the loan shark wants to see him - Frank has been having an affair with his wife.

Unfortunately, the plot gets sidetracked, with some dumb detours that are completely out of step with the otherwise sarcastic tone of the piece (the ending is a disappointing cop-out).

However, McDonald and Gleeson display a natural camaraderie and are so likable that you'll probably wish the material was stronger or that Breathnach did a better job of balancing the film's snide and violent sides.

"I Went Down" is rated R for profanity, violent gunplay and fist fights, use of vulgar slang and some lewd dancing, simulated sex, gore and female nudity.