Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
After an eleven-year the break emotional, brash French-Canadian cop David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) and cold, calculating Upper Canadian constable Martin Ward (Colm Feore) are back on the beat. Their original pairing, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop,” was a Two Solitudes parody that became one of the highest grossing Canadian films of all time. The new film changes their dynamic but keeps the corny cultural comedy.
In “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” when the odd couple meet again Bouchard is working undercover with a ring of car thieves. Ward raids their chop shop hoping to nab two crime bosses but instead is reintroduced to his old friend. The straight-laced Ontarian fake arrests Bouchard to maintain his cover and the two get reacquainted.
Bouchard is still a hot-headed provincial police officer for the Sûreté du Québec while Ward has moved up. Now an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ward has increased responsibilities and a compelling personal reason to follow this case to its conclusion. After clandestine meetings at curling rinks the two grudgingly decide to work together again but soon discover the car theft ring may have links to terrorism.
What to call “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2”? It’s a buddy flick, a slapstick comedy, an equal opportunity caricature of Canadian stereotypes and a family drama. It is all that and yet, somehow less than the sum of its parts.
It is at its best when Feore and Huard are on screen together. The two spark, sparring over temperament, culture and even hockey but the film gets bogged down in details. You know what made “Law & Order” great? You never knew much about the personal lives of the characters. It was always about the case and not the periphery. “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” could have taken a page from that playbook. The script—written by Huard—errs on the side of sentimentality and is cluttered with family turmoil and illness instead of trusting the chemistry between the two actors to carry the story.
“Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” is billed as a Canadian comedy but for every line like, “That’s not the best way to talk to a separatist with anger issues,” that connects with CanCon culture there are five that feel as though they were torn from the pages of any generic American cop story. The first film was ripe with clichés, but at least they were Canadian clichés.
Add to that a climatic action sequence that makes virtually no sense—instead of calling for back up they say things like, “We have no choice, no time to go for more help.” Do they not have cell phones in Quebec?—where they do everything in the most spectacularly hard way when easier and more obvious solutions are readily available. The action, and everything else, is played at a heightened level that plays into old fashioned stereotypes—small town Americans are dumb, Bouchard is playfully reckless and the single character of colour is a villain—that feels out dated and borderline offensive.
“Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” leans toward the latter part of its title.
Richard’s “Canada AM” interview with “Delivery Man” co-star Cobie Smulders.
“It’s a blown up version of something that happens in real life,” she says. “You had a relationship when you were younger and all of a sudden a woman contacts the father and, ‘Oh, by the way, you have a seven year old.’ Obviously there is room for comedy there but everyone wants him to step up and be the hero and watch him do that journey.”
“We were so lucky to have [original director] Ken Scott. He did it so well the first time that he was able to do it a second time and have those same sentiments in it and spoken in English.”
At one point in “Delivery Man,” a remake of the much-loved French film “Starbuck,” David Wozniak’s (Vince Vaughn) father (Andrzej Blumenfeld) says, “If you can live with his countless faults you’ll have some marvelous times.”
David is a sweet tempered, kind oaf who never seems to make the right decision. That’s a fault that has landed him $80,000 in debt, desperate for cash and, as if that wasn’t enough, he’s also the biological father of over 500 children. To say he brings some baggage with his good nature is an understatement along the lines of calling Miley Cyrus show-offy.
Vaughn subs in for French star Patrick Huard in this almost shot-for-shot remake of the original film. He’s a man-child who, “everyday finds new ways to push the limits of incompetence,” but learns commitment and responsibility after discovering that his sperm bank donations unwittingly made him the father of 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit to learn their biological father’s real identity.
“Delivery Man” features a much more low key Vaughn than we’ve seen lately, and that’s a good thing. His slick motor mouth act got tired around the same time the housing bubble burst but with very few exceptions—Into the Wild being one of them—he’s been coasting through movies like “Fred Claus,” “Couple’s Retreat” and (worst of all) “The Watch.”
But he’s not a one trick pony and “Delivery Man” reminds us that there is more to him than verbal dexterity and sardonic wit.
He hands in a charming performance with all the rough edges buffed away in a movie that is unabashedly sweet—some might say corny—but there is no cynicism here and that is the movie’s main strength.
“Funkytown,” a new movie that chronicles the highest highs and lowest lows of Montreal’s 1970s boogie wonderland, is just as superficial and brash as the music that fuels its soundtrack.
Patrick Huard leads the large ensemble cast playing Bastien Lavallée, the French Dick Clark of disco and host of a popular television dance show. Through Lavallée “Funkytown” weaves together a collection of characters—a flamboyantly gay trend setter, a closeted dancer and his unsuspecting girlfriend, an ambitious model and a sleazy record producer—into a story where glamorous nightlife collides with real life. After watching the movie I thought maybe the fundamentalists were right. Maybe the gyrating rhythms of disco were bad for us. They certainly are for the characters in the film. More than fallen arches and sore knees these characters suffer from everything from drug addiction to the onslaught of AIDS.
“Funkytown” is an ambitious movie which takes elements of reality—the Lavallée character is loosely based on the sad and sordid life of Montreal DJ and game show host Alain Montpetit—mixed with disco clichés. On the surface—and let’s face it, disco was all surface, no substance—the movie nails it, from the unenlightened club owner boasting on television that his disco has a “special floor for homos” to the clutter of 70s artefacts—the horn pendants, the coke snorting and wide collars—to the thumping soundtrack. It’s when we get into the substance that “Funkytown” runs into problems.
With such a mix and match of stories—I lost count after eight plot threads—it’s almost impossible to give each plotline the weight it deserves.
As a result we get a cautionary tale about how self destructive the business of hedonism can be that plays like a cross between “Boogie Nights” and “So You Think You Can Dance” but without the weight of the former and the fun of the latter. It skims over the stories like John Travolta doing the Russian kick dance around the dance floor in “Saturday Night Fever.” Less a story than a melodramatic check list of disco culture it forgoes the opportunity to delve into any one story too deeply. It even skates over the language issues which defined Quebec in the 1970s with several veiled references to the Referendum and the story of a former star who can’t get her French single played in French dance clubs.
“Funkytown” suffers from being too literal—for instance, the soundtrack blares the Tavares hit “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” as Lavallée lays eyes on his slinky love interest for the first time—and spreading itself too thin and as a result at well over two hours feels almost as long as the decade itself.
The new comedy Starbuck has a story line which sounds ripped from the headlines.
Recently the New York Times reported on a sperm donor who has fathered 150 children with more on the way. The Times was slightly behind the times, however, according to director and writer Ken Scott. “We’ve known of these cases and have been telling people and everyone says, ‘Yeah, come on, this is not possible,’” he says.
“It is possible. It is actually happening and not in one case but in several throughout the world. People don’t believe me but they believe the New York Times. As if they have the truth, but not me!”
From the film Bon Cop, Bad Cop, star Patrick Huard plays David, an irresponsible Montrealer whose “donations,” under the pseudonym Starbuck, unwittingly made him the father of 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit to learn their biological father’s real identity.
Through his “kids” he learns commitment and responsibility.
“It would have been impossible for me to do this part [before I had kids of my own],” Huard says.
“I really think I was preparing for this part for years and that’s why it feels so natural. Probably not even four years ago could I have done this role. I was ready and ripe for that part now. That’s why it is so magical for me.
“When I read the script that’s the feeling I had. I am the age of the character now, and I have that feeling — that I want to commit.
“When I was even 30 I wasn’t committed in every part of my life as I am now. When I read the script, I thought, not only do I want to do this, but I want to do it now.
“I am ready.”
He was ready to make the film but anxious to try something different. “I changed my natural rhythm,” says Huard. “I wasn’t even moving at the same pace I move in life.”
“The way the film is structured his character is in every scene,” says Scott. “So I needed a well crafted actor, talented, charismatic and funny. Patrick was the right guy.
“I think what’s interesting is that Patrick was a natural choice because he has all these qualities but he is playing a character very different from what he’s done before.
“That was very exciting, that feeling that we are doing something new.”
Bon Cop Bad Cop is an interesting hybrid of a film. As the title suggests it is bilingual, blending both of Canada’s official languages and shining a spotlight on our two solitudes, while taking it’s cues from American action films.
When a dead body is found draped over the sign that delineates the border between Quebec and Ontario, the two provincial police forces are forced to work together to find the killer. We meet Martin Ward (Colm Feore), the WASPy Ontario cop who plays by the book and David Bouchard (Patrick Huard), his free-wheeling French counter-part who threw away the rule book a long time ago. They don’t like one another but over time they embrace the other’s differences and become a team.
If that sounds familiar it should because it is the basis of literally hundreds of buddy films from Lethal Weapon onwards. We’ve seen most of this before, but placing it in Canada against the background of French-English relations gives Bon Cop Bad Cop most of its zip. The movie pokes fun at the clichés that Ontarians are uptight and overly polite while French-Canadians are wild and laissez-faire, treating the differences with humor.
In this the movie is aided greatly by its French lead actor, Patrick Huard. A noted comedian in Quebec, Huard has an easy charm and rubber face that can flip on a dime from good-natured and goofy to hard-edged and dangerous. He’s a great choice to play the rule-bending cop who has both a light and dark side to his personality. Also well cast is Colm Feore as Martin Ward, the Ontario cop. Feore ensures that his character isn’t simply a cliché but a well-rounded person who slowly realizes that underneath it all feels that he is better than his French neighbor. Together they have good chemistry.
The best part of the film is definitely watching these two actors work together and they are so good they deflect criticism away from the preposterous story. It turns out the body draped over the border sign was just the first victim of a hockey-obsessed serial killer who has set out to kill hockey executives who are selling Canadian teams to American owners. It doesn’t get more Canadian than that. What’s next, the Maple Syrup Madman?
Bon Cop Bad Cop is an attempt to do something that is done all too rarely in this country—make a homegrown film that will appeal to Canadians. It is a blatantly commercial film that has all the elements of American blockbusters and poutine jokes.