Elephant Shoes Christos Sourligas

This routine Canadian rom-com smartens up in its final third to look like an actual movie, though it's a photo finish as to whether it squeaks under the wire or not. The rather precious conceit is that Montreal native Manny (Greg Shamie) and visiting Torontonian Alex (Stacie Morgain Lewis) have a full blown romance — from pick-up to break-up — in a mere 12 hours. True to Canuck form, Manny is impossibly obnoxious without the filmmakers realising it, but despite Alex's picking up on his "psycho" tendencies, she beds him nonetheless. This leads to numbered chapters in which our heroes whirl through romantic interludes, trust issues and atonal singing of cheesy songs, all of it rendered with a cutesy arch-ness that makes your ears bleed and your skin crawl. But just when you think it's down for the count, it drops the act and starts saying what it thinks, riding out the relationship through its degeneration and finally into the tipping point. Shot in four days on a budget of credit cards, the film looks better than you'd expect: there are strong elements of design, the cinematographer clearly did more than point and shoot and all in all it's a less visually painful experience than, say, Clerks. And there is a certain unity to the writing, even if it allows Manny to be astoundingly cretin-ous while getting away with it. But though Shamie and Lewis are solid (especially Lewis), it's an extremely shaky 80 minutes — whether you like it and for what reasons are the litmus test for whether your own significant other should dump you. Extras include a remixed version of Tim Rideout's unimpressive score, bios of the cast and crew, and a roster of review clippings and festival awards. (Alliance Atlantis)