The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico Michael Mabbott

The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico Michael Mabbott
Canada likes to pat itself on the back for its funny people, but they're exported so often that we're usually left with stuff as unfunny as this half-assed mockumentary.

The film purports to tell the story of Terrifico (singer Matt Murphy), a wannabe Gram Parsons who in the '70s created such a swirl of controversy with drugs, alcohol and misbehaviour that country musicians supposedly still whisper of his madness. The joke is that Terrifico, despite all of his grandiose dreaming, can't get his act together long enough to cut an album, and engages in such extroverted misadventures that his ludicrous legend grows to obscure his musical achievements.

But though the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Hawkins and Levon Helm stop by to help lend credibility, the movie is done in by a lack of ambition that's mirrored in the ridiculing of its ambitious hero. The idea that a Canadian would invent a hilarious success is completely out of the question, meaning writer/director Michael Mabbott constantly frustrates us by locking us in a room with someone we're not supposed to respect.

And the film doesn't give us much else to respect: the jokes are all timid and unfunny, ranging from the stage-fright flatulence of our hero's ladylove to an ex-girlfriend who uses "fuck" more often than all other words combined. A rueful episode where Terrifico starts humping his drums onstage has potential, but by then it's too little, too late. That the film fails to convince in period detail or performances by the supposed actors is par for the Canuck course, but that doesn't excuse the dearth of imagination or wit on offer. (Alliance Atlantis)