Saturday, October 12, 2013

Movie Review: The Right Kind of Wrong - Criticize This!

A scene from The Right Kind of Wrong.

Oh boy, that game of love. It just ain’t easy, is it kids? Sometimes the person who seems so right can be so wrong. And vice versa and etc. If you’ve ever seen a romantic comedy written before The Right Kind Of Wrong or after any of Shakespeare’s comedies, then you know the theme of this movie. You can probably predict most of the plot within the first few minutes as well. That shouldn’t be too big of a problem in theory though. There’s a comfort in familiarity with the rom-com genre that’s part of the appeal. The trouble with The Right Kind Of Wrong is that it just isn’t that funny or insightful or believable. It is fairly fun though. Call it an inoffensive failure. The type of movie that you won’t hate yourself for watching, but likely won’t ever watch again.

The film opens with a deeply unhappy couple starring at each other silently across a table (a true sign of marital bliss). Leo (True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten) is a layabout failed writer, Julie (Kristen Hager) is a beauty who has wasted too much time, money, and youth supporting his dreams. She tells Leo that she’s actually written a blog about what a terrible boyfriend he is and even though it’s a private joke for friends and the moment, she plans on making it public. She does. It becomes a hit. She becomes a celebrity. She even gets a book deal. Leo, the dish-washing wannabe writer, doesn’t take it well. However, just as he’s bottoming out in a depression, he sees a beautiful lady named Colette (Sara Canning) punt a football and as a result, she just might be the woman of his dreams. She runs a local tour, she lives in a trailer, she hates the man. She’s perfect. Except that Leo meets her on her wedding day. Fortunately, she marries to a pretty boy jerk of a lawyer (Ryan McPartlin) who shouldn’t pose much competition beyond the whole “till death do us part” thing. So, the game is on.

And there’s your movie. The Right Kind Of Wrong is all about a somewhat psychotic loser desperately trying to convince the girl of his dream to get a divorce. In the real world, we call that stalking. In the movies, it’s true love. The Right Kind Of Wrong is all kinds of corny and truthfully, the biggest weaknesses are wooden lead performances from Ryan Kwanten, Kristen Hager, and Sara Canning. None of them are particularly funny or engaging as actors. They just look pretty enough for the parts and that’s apparently all that mattered during the casting sessions. Fortunately, there are a couple of amusing performances and moments around the edges to add laughs. Leo and Julie had a pair of pets called Snow and Balls…not a great joke, but one that will make you laugh despite your best intentions. Will Sasso plays the required wisecracking best friend for the lovestruck lead and he is a funny man, particularly when given the chance to spit out some filthy sex jokes with his onscreen wife. Catherine O’Hara also pops up as Colette’s hippy mom who enjoys Leo’s bizarre quest and she deadpans more comedy out of the role than should be possible. So, there are laughs to be had for sure. Unfortunately, when the credits roll and you look back on the film, the word “serviceable” comes to mind.

The film was directed by Montrealer Jeremiah S. Chechik, who made National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and The Avengers (not the Marvel version, the terrible movie from the ’90s that helped Sean Connery decide to retire). The Right Kind Of Wrong falls somewhere between those extreme highs and lows of his Hollywood career. It’s perfectly fine, just nothing special. In fact, were this same movie cranked out of the Hollywood system starring a Zac Efron and/or Vanessa Hudgens, it would probably even be a modest Valentine’s Day weekend hit. The trouble is that this is a Canadian indie that faces an uphill battle simply getting eyeballs pointed at the screen. It’s just not good enough to force attention away from all the American Oscar bait starting to clog up theatres at the moment. In the end, the movie’s destiny is to fill up TMN and deep Canadian cable viewing slots where half awake viewers will tolerate it at 3 a.m. or on a hangover weekend. Not exactly high praise, but everyone involved in the project clearly weren’t shooting very high either. So, what else did they possibly expect?

Rating: ** (out of 5 stars)


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