American Venus Bruce Sweeney

American Venus Bruce Sweeney
Canadian Psycho would have been a better title — that’s apparently who made this singularly misguided, supremely nonsensical and utterly unbelievable unloading of grievances against a stereotypical ugly American.

Rebecca DeMornay has the unenviable task of breathing life into the gun-toting Yankee queen bitch that drives a long-suffering daughter away with her domineering influence. Unwilling to accept the fact that her flesh and blood has fled all the way to Vancouver, she climbs into her cream-coloured SUV, heads north of the border and then crosses the line from overconfident to psychotic with no real suggestion as to why.

At first, DeMornay’s character seems to be a semi-acceptable (if annoyingly strident) representation of good old American arrogance but then she gets into misadventures that would beggar Baron Munchausen — at one point you face the fact that you’re watching the heroine at a shooting range, lustily firing a handgun while getting cunnilingus from a rogue cop.

Director Bruce Sweeney has made good films before, and largely in a naturalistic mode, so this sweepingly ludicrous film comes straight out of leftfield — one wonders first how he could have written it and then how anybody else could have thought it was worth spending money on. It’s not just crazy, it’s smug, with the filmmakers deciding that a demented caricature is a creditable manner of dealing with our resentment towards folks down south. (Whatever we may feel has been done to us by America, this shrill freak-out doesn’t exactly act as a balm to the soul.)

Still, it’s a very special bad movie, one for camp fanciers and connoisseurs of the bizarre, with a climactic about-face that had the critics in my screening roaring with laughter. (TVA)