Don McKellar, Tracy Wright, Nadia Litz
Directed by Reginald Harkema
Alliance Atlantis 2007
Monkey Warfare is a low budget Canadian comedy. The problem is not that it is low budget; this barely shows. The problem is that it is a comedy from English Canada and consequently just not funny.
My problem with French comedies is they talk too much. My problem with English Canadian comedies is they are full of quirky characters who talk too much and have nothing to say. Director Reginald Hakema tries to poke fun at radicals and their values but does so with a wet Q-Tip.
Monkey Warfare has an interesting story and characters but not much else. Dan and Linda are a couple in their early forties living under the radar in Toronto.
You know they have a secret because Don is always on edge when he sees a cop car. They scrounge garage sales and their neighbor’s garbage and sell the stuff on E-Bay (well, they never mention E-Bay but it is E-Bay).
They are very platonic friends and smoke a lot of dope. Dan meets Susan, a cute girl in her late teens and early twenties, a pusher who is interested in the history of the radical movement. Dan lends her a few books, Susan applies the lessons, and this causes Dan and Linda to get stressed out because it may draw attention to them.
The joke here, I think, is that Dan and Linda are not as radical as they once were and Susan is a bit too radical. Things seem to come to a head, finally, when the couple learns they might have to move because of gentrification.
Although this causes the ending of the movie a lot more could have been done with the premise of a couple of radicals living under the radar discovering how expensive life really is.
If there is a point to Monkey Warfare, aside for being an excuse to play bits of radical sixties music and shoot a couple of scenes music video style, it was totally lost on me.
The only thing you get out of this Canadian comedy is there’s good stuff to sell on E-Bay in your neighbor’s garbage but we already knew that.
The movie features great performances, looks really good (you can only tell it is low budget in an early grainy shot) but does nothing except sit there.
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