CORNER GAS: THE MOVIE: 3 STARS. “a warm hug from the Prairies.”
“How long has it been since anything exciting happened around her?” asks Hank Yarbo (Fred Ewanuick) at the beginning of the big screen reboot of the one of the most successful Canada sitcom ever.
Seconds later some exciting, and unexpected stuff happens but not to worry, it doesn’t take long before “Corner Gas: The Movie” is back to doing what the television show so reliably delivered for the six seasons it was on the small screen—dishing up homespun, gentle small town humour. Not exactly exciting, but reliable.
Life is pretty much the same in Dog River, Saskatchewan as it has always been, but there is change around the corner. The town is almost bankrupt, with no money to pay the municipal power bill or fix the community water system. After a town meeting where the mayor Fitzy Fitzgerald (Cavan Cunningham) suggests scratching lottery tickets to raise the money to save the town, people leap into action. Hank looks for get rich schemes, Wanda (Nancy Robertson) opens a casino in Sergeant Davis Quinton’s (Lorne Cardinal) man cave while Brent (Brent Butt) invests in the town and buys the local bar. Others contemplate leaving until local café owner Lacey (Gabrielle Miller) comes up with an idea to “quaintify” the town and enter the National Star’s Quaintest Town in Canada contest. The large cash prize could get the town out of hock and maybe life can get back to normal. Or at least as normal as it ever gets in Dog River.
“Corner Gas: The Movie” feels like an old comfortable shoe. The jokes are well worn in and there’s no fear of rubbing or chafing of any sort. There’s loads of slapstick and sarcasm delivered by an ensemble cast who spent six years honing their chemistry.
Cutting edge it’s not, but there is something to be said for a comedy that focuses on Canadianisms like charging 5¢ for a plastic shopping bag. It’s a warm hug from the Prairies and a thank you to the fans that stood by the show.