Sunday, 22 March 2015

RELATIVE HAPPINESS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Nova Scotian Lard Bucket Looks For Love

Relative Happiness (2014)
Dir. Deanne Foley
Starring: Melissa Bergland, Aaron Poole, Johnathan Sousa, Molly Dunsworth, Jennifer Kydd, Mary Lewis, Susan Kent, Joel Thomas Hynes, David Christoffel, Rob Wells

Review By Greg Klymkiw

She's 30-years-old, runs a bed and breakfast in Nowheresville, Nova Scotia, wears gaudy-chic clothes, sports a shock of straight red-dyed hair and among her other attributes, Lexie (Melissa Bergland) is a great cook. Flashing her almost insufferably perky smile, the comely lassie is what some might refer to as a pretty good catch. She's salt of the Earth, eh. She's good people, eh. She'd give ya' the shirt off 'er back, eh - well, that might not always be a blessing since her shirt, at least for most, would be a few sizes too big for even a baby hippopotamus, but still, she'd give to ye, eh.

Lexie's sisters (Molly Dunsworth, Jennifer Kydd) are mega babes and so's her Mom (Mary Lewis). One sis is married with children, the other sis is about to get married. Lexie's best friend (Susan Kent), also happens to be a babe and she's got a steady beau (Joel Thomas Hynes). Lexie is plumb without any steady bone in her life, save perhaps, for the occasional blind drunk (Rob Wells) trolling the local watering holes and campgrounds.

Worse yet, Lexie can't fit into her Maid of Honour dress and has immense pressure from Mumsy and sissies to come up with a date for her sister's round-the-corner nuptials. Life, it would seem, is pretty tough for a cute little porker in the land of fiddle playing fishermen. Luckily for her, a new guest in her B and B is a hunky photographer (Johnathan Sousa) and he seems to take as big a shine to her as she to him.

Our heroine might have a date for the wedding celebration after all. Unbeknownst to her, though, the shutterbug wayfarer isn't all he's cracked up to be and she's setting herself up for a big fall. Waiting in the wings, though, is a wonkily handsome, kind-hearted, good-humoured and charming roofer (Aaron Poole) who bemusedly catches her antics out of the corner of his eye whilst filling all manner of holes in her roof. If Lexie wasn't so blind to her houseguest's chicanery, she'd possibly be getting at least one of her holes filled by the hammer-wielding Newfie Mike Holmes.

The innocuous rom-com trappings of the film's first third eventually give way to all manner of melodramatic convolutions, some of which yield a reasonably amusing bevy of belly laughs alternating with mega-tear-squirting opportunities. How you handle this picture will be dependent upon your tolerance for regional cutesy-pie whimsy, but let it be said that both the writing, direction and first-rate performances do not let the genre down. If one's predilections are suited to such a romp, the entertainment value will be high indeed.

My 14-year-old daughter loved the movie to death and was laughing quite riotously throughout the picture, also responding emotionally to the more moving and tender aspects of the proceedings. This was enough to stop me from groaning throughout and spewing bilious invectives left, right and centre. That's something, anyway.


Relative Happiness is playing at the Canadian Film Fest 2015 in Toronto.