I consider myself a very proud Canadian. Cheering for Canadian athletes and teams as well as listening to Canadian music is the norm for me. But when it comes to Canadian films and television shows I find myself often embarrassed. I do not find that we often show our talent in these two arenas. Most of the time the product is weak with poor production values. There are the exceptions, of course, and this underappreciated film by the brilliant Don McKellar is one of them.
A very popular sitcom actor, the young Taylor Brandon Burns (Mark Rendall – 30 Days of Night, Charlie Bartlett) is a star. The unfortunate part is that he knows it. Despite the fact that he is only 12-years-old Taylor is obnoxious, demanding and trying to act older than his age. To say that he is difficult is an understatement. Things only get worse when he travels to Canada to shoot a movie.
The latest Taylor Brandon Burns film in one in which he plays the First Son of the United States and has to save the world. Experimental filmmaker Rick Schiller (Don McKellar – eXistenZ, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is thrust into Taylor’s crazy life when he is hired as the driver for the young star and his mother, Suzanne (Jennifer Jason Leigh – Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Road to Perdition), while they are in Toronto shooting the film. Sooner than he can say “hello” the in the process of getting divorced Rick finds himself involved in their crazy lives and in Suzanne’s bed.
Despite his trying behaviour Rick seems to be gaining Taylor’s trust as filming goes on. That is, he thinks he is gaining his trust until one night the young Hollywood star disappears. Taylor has run away with an older actress/escort and Rick, his mother and the film’s producer (Dave Foley – Monsters University, A Bug’s Life) are desperate to find the little cash cow…um, child.
Trust me when I say this is not your average film. It sounds very straightforward almost Movie of the Week like, but it is the furthest thing from that it could be. Doing double duty as the director and lead actor Don McKellar has stuck his tongue firmly in his cheek with this one and does not remove it for the entirety of the film. He pokes (and pokes is a mild word for what he does) fun at Hollywood, child stars, mothers of child stars, and basically the entire film industry. I, for one, enjoyed all the black humour.
It was totally not what I expected or what it leads you to believe it is going to be. Going against the norm it hits it out of the park. This is funnier and smarter than I thought it was going to be. If you enjoy biting humour then this Don McKellar film is your kettle of fish.
-“Making Of” Featurette