When it comes to satire you need a good idea and then a solid script to pull it off. Director Benoit Pelletier (first film) has one half of equation while the other sadly lacks. It is too bad because you can see the potential there with the good idea and a decent cast.
Quebec talk show host Marc Morin (Patrick Huard – Mommy, Starbuck) has had his 15 minutes in the spotlight and now it seems like it is turning towards others. Or more precisely because of his self-absorption and abrasive nature he has turned the public against him. As a result his once successful show and career are both now freefalling towards obscurity. Even off camera his life is going great. He is dismissive to his wife (Sandrine Bisson – 1987, Anna) and pretty much ignores his two children, Thierry (Étienne Poliquin – first film) and Rosabelle (Ludivine Reding – Aurore).
His agent, Paul Plante (Antoine Bertrand – Louis Cyr, Starbuck), is desperate to keep his client relevant….or working. The network wants to cancel the show and so Paul negotiates that Marc will engage in a rebranding campaign by going off to Haiti on a humanitarian mission with SOS Monde. Marc refuses, but Paul convinces him that this is the only way for him to keep his career.
Once in Haiti Marc does nothing but complain about the hotel, the poverty and the people he is there with, photographer Richard Beaudoin (Guy Jodoin – Antoine et Marie, Les Boys), rapper Sammy (Gardy Fury) and SOS Monde publicist Nataly Chabot (Marie-Ève Milot – from television’s Mémoires Vives). It takes a young girl and a life threatening situation to occur for Marc to finally come to grips with what is important in life.
An important element of satire is that you relate to at least one of the characters and as such they are fleshed out entities. Neither of these needs is satisfied with Ego Trip. There is no character whose motivation(s) you understand and that has mostly to do with the fact that the characters, including the lead Marc Morin, have been so thinly realized that you know precious little about them and why they are the way they are.
Another failing is that though it starts off promising, the rhythm trips up and despite Huard’s best efforts we really don’t care for Marc. He is not someone we are cheering for to see the light of day. Satire requires witty dialogue and strong humour. The jokes here often don’t quite reach witty or funny. I mean, there is only so much you can do with a urine joke. Even when a joke is funny you don’t end up laughing because of the ten previous ones that were not even close. The actors seem to sense that they are going down in flames and as such many begin overacting.
It is too bad that the film falls a little flat as it is a film I wanted to like. I really wanted to like because of all its potential and the likeability of Patrick Huard.