One Week Michael McGowan

One Week Michael McGowan
Canada finally gets the recognition it craves, as Michael McGowan has crammed more Canadiana into 94 minutes than 13 of those "There's no place like this" TV spots. Roll up the rim to win cups? Check. A Stanley Cup cameo? Somehow, check. Oversized novelty rest stops? Check. Gord Downie smokin' a spliff? Check. Having a one-night stand with indie songstress Emm Gryner in the deep woods? Check! But One Week also has a story set within its scenic trip across the Great White North. Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek, Fringe) stars as Ben, a 30-year-old teacher who is diagnosed with stage-four cancer and reacts by riding a motorcycle across the country. With his fiancée Samantha (Liane Balaban) worrying at home, Ben looks to cheat the consequences by basking in the beauty of his surroundings, from Toronto to Vancouver Island. As fun as it is seeing the country mapped out and on display for the world to see, McGowan doesn't give us those big poignant scenes a movie like this needs. Instead, One Week uses unlikely scenarios, playful humour and the hackneyed journey to find yourself to let down Canada's big moment. McGowan and his talented cast give a valiant effort but are a little too self-aware in their attempt to make Canada look so great. The director's commentary is explanatory but not too tedious. He admits they cut down the narrator's role, yet if you ask me, not quite enough, and yes, he also clarifies that it is indeed the actual Stanley Cup. The "making of" features Jackson speaking of showcasing Canada and using the backdrop to tell a personal story, and it's apparent just how difficult it was to make it all happen with a small crew whose resources were stretched to the point of shooting in their apartments. A Q&A with Jackson and McGowan from a Toronto screening answers all of the need-to-know questions, including a defence that the film isn't "too Canadian," and gratuitously shows the after-party at the local Roots show, in all of its Canadian glory. Plus: interview with director, photo gallery, trailer. (Mongrel Media)