Starring: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osmet, Genesis Rodriguez, Johnny Depp
Director: Kevin Smith
Podcaster Wallace (Long), who makes fun of people and is generally obnoxious, heads into Canada to find a story, leaving his long suffering girlfriend Ally (Rodriguez) and best friend and co-host Teddy (Osmet) behind. But when he interviews an old sea dog (Parks) who promises he has loads of interesting stories to tell, he discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew. He wakes up to find he’s the prisoner of a man who plans to turn him into the animal within, a walrus.
When Ally and Teddy realise that something is very wrong, they head up into Canada to try to rescue Wallace, with the help of a local eccentric PI Guy Lapointe (Depp). The story slowly starts to come together, as they follow the clues. Can they get to Wallace in time?
You have to give this film serious points for creativity. A man who kidnaps people and tries to turn them into a walrus is a great concept. What I love about this film is that although the plot is kind of a horror, it’s more about the humour of each character. Everyone in this film is a bit larger than life, none more to than the Quebecois detective, though sometimes this means that it’s all a bit much. At heart, it’s a film about a guy who gets his comeuppance for behaving like an animal, for not being a more compassionate person, so the focus is on character and our inner demons, perhaps.
It’s a film of two halves, really. The first is where we get to know Wallace and he finds his way to Canada and his predicament. This is where the film is at it’s best, with a few jokes about how annoying Americans are, and the amusing oddness of the man Wallace meets. This part feels quite dark, and though it’s at it’s darkest when focusing on the house that holds Wallace, in the second half, there’s much more straight forward humour as Teddy and Ally meet up with the detective, who’s like something out of Pink Panther. Flashbacks of the PI’s memories are introduced, with his spin on history, which is quite amusing. I like the way the story unfolds here, as Wallace is transitioning which leaves him unable to speak, therefore less able to help out with exposition. But it feels a little like a different film.
On the whole, and as it’s meant to be a comedy, it’s a really interesting film by Kevin Smith, the man who brought us Clerks and other slacker comedies. It’s a flawed film, but I like the way that it talks about the worst parts of humanity and what can happen to them if they’re unaware. It’s not a moral tale, really, just a story about foolishness and, well, being turned into a walrus by a psycho. It’s not really a story for everyone, I think, but it’s quite fun, especially if you like dark comedy.
See It If: you like your humour dark or your stories to be a bit quirky. Kevin Smith fans should appreciate this one too.