Published Jul 19, 2012The man at the helm of Trailer Park Boys, Mike Clattenburg, returns to his comedic roots after last year's largely disappointing dramatic offering, Afghan Luke, and the result's a welcome homecoming in more ways than one. Moving Day mines the humour organically from its characters, remaining rooted in enough absorbing human drama to make up for the lapses in laughs.
Clyde (Will Sasso) is a big lug whose broad shoulders carry furniture for a living, as well a mountain of sadness due to his unenviable lot in life. In picaresque Dartmouth, NS, he works at Redmond's Furniture under the thumb of its rigid owner, Wilf Redmond (Victor Garber), and his beloved dog, Little Buddy, who has a tendency to eat stray elastics. It's telling that Clyde longs for something so simple: to do absolutely nothing working for city maintenance, of course.
His co-workers are a collection of life's cast-offs, including a functional alcoholic (Gabriel Hogan), a wannabe rock star (Jonny Harris) and an ex-convict with a violent past (Eddie's big brother, Charlie Murphy). Clyde's sister (Gabrielle Miller) keeps the books while being groomed to eventually run the place.
One day, the collective burden finally becomes too great for Clyde and he drops, and destroys, an expensive dresser, causing him to be placed on probation by Wilf. From there, things spiral downwards for everyone as their futures are impacted by events that are somehow more inevitable than predictable based on their pasts.
It's always interesting to see comedians stretch their legs in something deeper and Sasso and Murphy are more than up to the task. They both get an opportunity to create genuine characters that are funny and relatable in equal measure, and their relationship provides the backbone of the film, with Murphy serving as both mentor and confidant to Sasso's troubled victim of arrested development.
The supporting roles are all well cast and considered but, because of this, the story has a tendency to meander and lose some momentum. Although there are enjoyable moments along the way, things are never consistently amusing enough to justify the digressions.
As a native of Nova Scotia, the film is sure to have special meaning for Clattenburg and he's managed to create a comedy with heart that approaches the holy grail of Apatow. Perhaps, in time, he may even get to drink from it. (Alliance)