Mon Ami (2012)

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It’s nice to come across movies that provide a fresh, sometimes blackly comic, twist on subgenres that look in danger of becoming stale. For every hundred zombie movies, there’s a gem like The Battery. For every hundred killer redneck movies, there’s Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil. For every millionth Saw rip-off, there’s the delightfully demented Chop. And now we have Mon Ami, a film that takes the botched crime flick (or botched kidnapping, to be more precise) and ladles on plenty of bloodshed as well as plenty of laughs.

Let me describe this for you in a very lazy, but very apt, way. Imagine if the two main characters from Reaper (a TV show so great that it was inevitably cancelled after only two seasons) weren’t busy capturing escaped souls to return to hell, but instead just captured themselves a young woman to use in a kidnap scheme they hope will lead to a big payday. And then imagine a series of circumstances in which everything that possibly could go wrong . . . . . . . . . . does. That’s Mon Ami.

Writer/director Rob Grant has really done himself proud here, mixing in some BIG laughs with lots of little gags and numerous set-ups and callbacks that work like a charm. The film is far from perfect, it slightly outstays its welcome and some of the main character developments aren’t too easy to just go along with, but it’s not usually far from a cracking set-piece or slice of surreallism.

Mike Kovac is excellent as Teddy Ivans, the kidnapper who doesn’t want things to go too far and has the added stress of constant phone calls from his wife, and Scott Wallis pairs up with him perfectly as Callum McDermott, best friend and co-kidnapper. The two make for a great double act, putting in a lot of work that more than makes up for the other minor failings and/or limitations of the movie. Chelsey Reist may not get all that much to do, but she’s fantastic as the unfortunate victim of the ill-conceived crime, and there’s also great support from Bradley Duffy, John Fitzgerald, Len Harvey, Bill Murdoch and, most memorably of all, Teagan Vincze.

Much like the cute puppy that you take home from the rescue centre that cuddles up to you and makes you feel good about your decision before urinating in all of your footwear and chewing whatever books happen to be on the lowest bookshelves, this is an endearing critter that occasionally proves difficult to love but is worth devoting some time to. I hope to pick it up whenever it hits the shiny disc format and I encourage others to keep an eye out for it.

WRITER/DIRECTOR: ROB GRANT
STARS: MIKE KOVAC, SCOTT WALLIS, BRADLEY DUFFY, JOHN FITZGERALD, LEN HARVEY, P. LYNN JOHNSON, BILL MURDOCH, CHELSEY REIST, TEAGAN VINCZE
RUNTIME: 93 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: CANADA

Film Rating: ★★★½☆

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