Archive for February, 2008

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Vince Vaughn and Keir O'Donnell in a scene from Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show (Photo courtesy of Alliance Films)If you are looking for insight into the guy behind the Vince Vaughn mask, you are not going to find it here.

This film is a documentary highlighting the awesome opportunity four comedians were given in 2005 — to tour 30 cities in 30 nights with Vaughn and an ensemble of other comedic actors. Audiences gain backstage access to the guys’ preparation, tour bus pranks, emotional ups and downs of a vigorous schedule, and how they dealt when confronted with the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Even though the word “documentary” would turn many theatregoers away, they should first know this is not your typical doc. The important difference is accomplished through the inclusion of footage of the guys’ routines. They are genuinely funny and the humour keeps the tempo of the film up. Even so, it is a little longer than it needs to be. Do we really have to see every city they visited?

Vaughn handpicked the four men from the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Each comic has his own style and each is entirely different from the other. John Caparulo reminds me of Bobby Hill (from the television series King of the Hill) with his acerbic humour; Sebastian Maniscalco is a metrosexual with observations and advice for the men in attendance; Bret Emst is a self-proclaimed Guido with masculine views on male-female relations; and Ahmed Ahmed is an Arab who uses his nationality and the stereotypes that accompany it for material.

Inspired by the variety shows of old, Vaughn set out to assemble his troupe and plan a tour covering 6,000 miles in the heartland of America. He wanted to bring his style of comedy to those who normally would not have the opportunity to see it. However, as we are shown, it is not just about the stand-up; Vaughn and his cast of players also do sketch comedy and improv, some of which even requires audience volunteers. In addition to the four comics mentioned, Vaughn also asked along former co-stars Justin Long, Keir O’Donnell and Peter Billingsley.

Like most of the world, I missed the comedy tour but it sure looked like a show worth seeing. Maybe there will be extended footage on the DVD. Then again, there is one advantage to seeing this film in theatres — laughing with a group of strangers as if you had been there.

IT'LL HAPPEN: Gabrielle Miller and Fred Ewanuick in a scene from Love and Other Dilemmas (Photo courtesy Maple Pictures)Love and Other Dilemmas could cause audiences to walk away with a toothache.

The romantic comedy is more like a dysfunctional fairy tale, complete with a curse, death, birth, resurrection and happily ever after.

Ginger’s grandmother cursed all the future generations of women in her family — unless they can “properly” wed the father of their unborn child before its birth, he will become half-dead and her daughter will carry the curse forward. Ginger (Gabrielle Miller) is determined to break the curse and her fiancé, Henry, (Stephen Lobo) is dedicated to helping her do so. However, the forces of the universe are not going to make it easy for the expecting parents; robbery, gambling, death and major miscommunications plague their special day.

The story and its characters are very sweet and, as in any good romance, the power of love triumphs despite the numerous obstacles encountered.

Miller was the perfect choice to play Ginger as she brings just the right balance of feistiness, desperation, vulnerability and sweetness to her character. As for the groom, even when Henry is doing something wrong or stupid, Lobo can simply cast a playful smile at the camera and his character is forgiven. Furthermore, one of television’s much-loved nuisances, Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas), plays one of the bungling burglars and possible groomsmen.

Not only are cast members well-suited to their roles, they are also composed of an array of recognizable Canadian talent from such home-grown television shows as Robson Arms, Corner Gas and Godiva’s. Viewers may also recognize some of the attention-stealing scenery as the film was shot on location in Vancouver.

Giggles are had as the curse continuously rears its ugly head via various near-fatal attempts on Henry’s life or anyone else trying to sabotage the couple’s wedded bliss. In addition, the reoccurring presence of the floral armchair that started it all is a cute, if not clever, sight gag.

Love and Other Dilemmas is fun fluff; great for those Sunday afternoons when all you want is a nice, clean, uncomplicated laugh.