For Shorts and Giggles

BY Daniel PrattPublished Jun 7, 2012

Comedy can be difficult, and certainly isn't for everyone. It's one thing to read a script and expect an audience to laugh, it's quite another to read a script and allow the comedy to flow organically. In the For Shorts & Giggles program, indie comedians take their turn on film, attempting to generate some laughs and, as expected, a few barely succeed, while the rest are sure to evoke the rolling of eyeballs. If there's any program to skip at this year's Worldwide Short Film Festival, this would be the one.

Buyer's Market plays up on the plethora of real estate programs currently seen on the TLC, W and HGTV channels. An agent shows a home to prospective first-time buyers, only to encounter a fellow that has been squatting in the living room. The saving grace in this short film is that there is a poop reference and, really, when is poop not funny?

Alas, there's no poop in Dad Drives: Better Late Than Never, but there is some awkward conversation, wherein a father asks his son to find out if his mother would be okay with having an abortion. While taken to an extreme, watching a son squirm in a very uncomfortable dialogue exchange with his dad is something everyone can relate to.

Jumping on the reality show mockery bandwagon, Say Yes To The Pants is a satirical portrayal of TLC program Say Yes To The Dress. Three hipsters walk into a skateboarding shop in Toronto's Junction neighbourhood and are assisted by an overly flamboyant salesclerk as one man searches for a new pair of pants. I suspect some of the comedic delivery was actually an inside joke among a group of friends, but it still has some funny moments.

There are three animated entries in this program and they are all creepy in their own special way. Linda utilizes stop-motion animation to showcase a paper cut-out doll as she tries on new clothes and provides a droll narration on the various outfits.

Useful Things is a rudimentary cartoon of a chipped teacup and a mouldy hotdog bun that find love in a garbage can, while Dress is an insanely disturbing, crudely animated cartoon of a blob-like woman that makes a new dress and decides to sing a song about it.

Also included with this program are three shorts dedicated to the wonder and glory of advertising breakfast sandwiches. Fortunately, Burger John's Breakfast Croissant Sandwich 1, 2 and 3 are short enough that they're over before you know what happened, unlike Visionary Times — Episode 1, which drags on for three minutes attempting to parody television commercials.

Equally as annoying is Pixar, where a person dawns a piece of cardboard with a cut-out face and sticks a sign on it that reads "Pixar," and then wanders around on Hollywood's Walk of Fame to mingle with the other costumed actors. Surely it's intended to be some sort of statement about society or the industry, but it's far too inside to translate.

Rounding out the program are two entries featuring the recognizable Roger's commercial actor. SWHD spends the first half of its four-minute run-time repeating the titular, "Sad Wet Happy Dry" ad nauseum for four minutes with a comically racist disposition, with the second half showing outtakes and bloopers during filming. Old Friends tries to find the comedy in running into old acquaintances, which might have worked with a briefer runtime, but is excruciating at four minutes.

Last but not least is Sheddies, which features two men that live in a backyard shed looking to add a new roommate. This short proves that giving a camcorder to someone that thinks they're hilarious results in a pained viewing experience for everyone else.

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