Apartment Hunting Bill Robertson

Apartment Hunting Bill Robertson
This is bound to be one of those movies better remembered for its soundtrack, seeing as how director Bill Robertson somehow convinced Canadian legend Mary Margaret O'Hara to compose a full album's worth of material, her first since 1988 and only her second overall. Robertson and O'Hara go back to 1991, when he cast her as a dance instructor who liberates a repressed family in his first movie, a wonderfully surreal slice of suburbia called The Events Leading Up to My Death. O'Hara has a role in this film too, but only a minor one, as a street performer whose songs provide running commentary for the main characters. The film itself is a trifle, losing all the wonderful wonkiness of Robertson's debut and attempting to be a modern screwball comedy. It once again proves the point that Canadians are funnier when they're off the wall, and any time we try to imitate British farce or American sitcoms we fall flat. The toothy grin of leading man Andrew Tarbet is too glib to be convincing, and most of the supporting players are walking stereotypes. The exception is Valerie Jeanneret as the Montreal expatriate whose phone flirtations with Tarbet threaten to break up his marriage. Cool and collected, she is the film's emotional centre, and she seems as bewildered by the characters' unbelievable motivations, including her own, as the rest of us. I don't know what it is about Kensington Market, but between this and Bruce MacDonald's Picture Claire, Toronto's most vibrant neighbourhood is more interesting than the movies set there. O'Haraphiles will only be marginally interested in the "scoring the scene" montage or the two music videos, both of which prove that watching her lip-sync her unpredictable vocal improvisations just looks dumb. Plus: music-only audio track. (Odeon/Reaction)