Trigger Bruce McDonald

Trigger Bruce McDonald
Allow me to preface the forthcoming tidal wave of disdain with a few kind words about Bruce McDonald. He has been on a world-class run with The Tracey Fragments and the criminally under-appreciated Pontypool. It's important to distinguish "world-class," because, like the highly derivative, criminally "overrated" Guy Maddin, it's so rare for an English-Canadian filmmaker to have any kind of cache that McDonald could never make another decent film and he'd still be rolling in the Telefilm funding until the end of his natural life.

Filmmakers have to make their worst films at some point, and it's not uncommon for one to follow a run of major successes. Here is McDonald's. A more appropriate title might have been Bitter Bitches Bitching or Third-Rate Maudlin Sentimentality: The Rock and Roll Experience.

It's the story of two former chick rock stars, both recovering addicts, and their complex, love-hate relationship. McDonald originally wanted to set the entire film around a dinner table, à la My Dinner with Andre. The difference being that Andre had a natural grace and this is some of the most hackneyed writing you'll come across in a theatrical release.

Comical examples of poor dialogue: "There is no everything, just me and my everything." This comes in the middle of a very long speech filled with equally cheap philosophizing. Or how about, "And the love was death, and it never made a sound, but it was the loudest thing you ever heard"?

It does get progressively better late in the action, benefiting from some impressive photography of Toronto. But by this point, anyone with an ounce of cynicism will have long since checked out. If there is one good thing, it's that our tax dollars, funnelled through Telefilm, won't go completely to waste. I'm sure the Alliance-owned Showcase Diva network will be showing this melodrama for years as late-night, "edgy" programming.

Fortunately for McDonald, he has the highly anticipated Hardcore Logo sequel and the Broken Social Scene film, This Movie is Broken. Those should cleanse the palette after this sickly-sweet, overdone entree. (eOne)