Just for Laughs Film Festival was just in Vancouver and they screened some wonderful films that deserve our attention.
The films this year have been just more enjoyable, and overall better than last year’s films.
Bernadette: This film was a fun and somewhat lighthearted coming of age romp. It follows Archie Kinsler, an awkward 15-year-old boy, and his friends on a quest to win the heart of a French exchange student named Bernadette, the most beautiful girl that has ever been seen in the suburb of Forest Lake. The audience empathizes with Archie on his quest to overcome his shyness and the growing pains that come with adolescence. There are many cliche moments, and it is definitely the kind of film that has been seen before. However, it was delivered in such a way that it still accomplished everything that it set out to achieve. The casting was well done; all of the characters were believable and enjoyable in their roles. It was refreshing to see more complicated relationships be represented including the relationship between Archie’s mom and Archie’s boss, who is not too much older than Archie. At one point. Archie’s boss moves in with them and creates substantial tension between the three characters. It was not a typical guy-gets-girl movie, but the character growth was exciting, and the ending was satisfying. Overall, a great film that is definitely worth seeing, with hilarious moments, heartwarming moments, and many ridiculous moments.
Never Be Done: This is a documentary film following Canadian comedian Richard Glen Lett. This one was a difficult watch. Much of the film follows him on his spiral down to rock bottom, and it is indeed painful to witness. At first, he was a character who proved very easy to hate as he said horrible things, and was extremely confrontational. Watching his career crumble and his spiral into alcoholism was also tragic. However, watching the sheer courage of this man and witnessing him turn his life around made for a genuinely inspirational documentary. The transition from hating him to loving him was quite the emotional journey, and I believe it was executed with ease. This film, while difficult at times, is an inspiring story of overcoming adversity and reconnecting with yourself and the ones you love.
Pork Pie: This film was an unexpected delight. At first, I was not sure how I felt about the characters, or if the type of humour in it was even funny; however, it was not long before I changed my mind. The humour is outstanding, the antics are great, and the concept was interesting. It is definitely a fresh take on the typical chasing-after-a-lost-romance plot, with well-acted characters and such a ridiculous journey. The humour is definitely what you would expect from a New Zealand comedy and it’s fantastic! I recommend watching it, and then watching it again as the interpersonal relationships between the three main characters is an excellent and subtle complex.
Make sure to check out the second part of this article in the next issue of The Phoenix.