Published May 01, 2014Contracting an STD doesn't sound very romantic, nor does it seem like something that would make you feel much dignity. But as Jason James' That Burning Feeling suggests, getting the disease might actually be a blessing in disguise.
This Canadian comedy follows Adam (Paulo Costanzo), a real-estate hotshot who seems to have it all career-wise, but is a mess when it comes to his private life. In person, he's a selfish jerk, leading a wild lifestyle seducing and bedding several women in a short amount of time. But as crazy can only go so far, things change when he wakes up with a painful surprise. Peeing is excruciating, and a visit to the doctor reveals that he has contracted what appears to be gonorrhoea.
Off to tell all the women he slept with to get tested, it comes to no one's surprise that Adam is met with unfortunate results. As he only recognizes his lovers by nicknames he made up for them, his seemingly happy life starts to become a downward spiral. Soon enough, he is fired from his job by his douche-y boss Richard Whitacre (John Cho), left isolated at home and, worst of all, suffering from all sorts of symptoms triggered by his medications ranging from sweatiness to hallucinations to drowsiness.
A chance meeting with a school counsellor named Liv (Ingrid Haas) helps him change his perspective. As he learns about the community centre where she works and her passion for her job, the two connect. She admires his honesty, and she inspires him to develop real connections with people, especially the women he slept with. His neighbour Frank (Tyler Labine) also becomes an unlikely companion, offering him advice while stealing his food and crashing on his couch.
Winner of the Best Canadian First Feature Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival, That Burning Feeling is one of those romantic comedies that is genuinely humorous without trying too hard.
Although the film is a bit formulaic and predictable, Labine and Cho serve as the movie's strongest characters because of their great comedic timing. Cho is delightfully evil as the film's main antagonist, playing up his character's douche-y nature with obnoxious hand gestures and saying things like, "I want you to make sweet love to the city."
Labine, on the other hand, is endearing as Adam's sloppy and eccentric neighbour. The two start an unlikely bromance, and Constanzo's Adam perfectly executes his role as the film's straight man.
Shot in Vancouver, the movie also gorgeously shows off the city's skylines and local haunts. This backdrop serves as a nice transition from stories set in major cities like Los Angeles and New York, who often film in Canadian cities anyway.