Budding filmmaker Andy King has been in hot water with former Toronto councillor Doug Ford, the brother of late mayor Rob Ford who was caught up in worldwide controversy involving drug use caught on tape. The plot of King’s feature Filth City is centred around a belligerent, frantic mayor searching for a video that captures his illicit drug binging at a house party – you can see why Doug is a little mad.
Filth City may be loosely inspired by Rob’s scandal, but Doug is jumping to conclusions. Doug Ford, who has already called Filth City and its makers “scumbags”, believes Andy King has set out to make a movie making fun of his brother’s addiction – that’s not what Filth City is about. In fact, Mayor Tom Hogg (Pat Thornton), for the most part, is far removed from the story. He gets other people to do his bidding while incompetent police officers, tough thugs, and junkies do most of the scrambling for the lost footage.
The film is two-sided. At its best, Filth City is twisted Canuxploitation by way of Broken Lizard. Writers Danny Polishchuk and Andy King have hilarious chemistry as Officers Randy Kapowski and Phil Coke. Their juvenile banter consists of surly nonsense and pranks, but they warm up the crowd for a good time – the right atmosphere for a goofball late-night live-action cartoon. However, when a major character leaves prematurely, Filth City slaps on a straight face. This change is ambitious, but not nearly as compelling or funny as the shameless gutbuster King and company had been setting up so well.
Filth City is decent, but its issues with consistency hampers the movie. As for Doug Ford, if he actually gave the film a shot, he may be surprised by the treatment of Filth City’s targets.
Filth City screens at Toronto’s Canadian Film Festival on Saturday, March 25 at 8:00 pm at Scotiabank Theatre.