By: Addison Wylie
I Put a Hit on You is a movie with a hangover. It doesn’t want to bother getting out of bed. When it eventually does, it shuffles its feet from one end of 78 minutes to the other. It’s found love on the festival circuit, and that makes me confused.
Harper (played by Sara Canning) likes to be in control. When a proposal to her boyfriend Ray (played by Aaron Ashmore) goes awry, she knocks back a bottle of liquor and drunkenly surfs the net. After passing out and suffering a slight hangover (do you see a theme?), she feels ill when realizing that she made a deal with an anonymous hitman-for-hire. According to the posting: she’ll trade her engagement ring if someone snuffs out Ray.
That brief glimmer of the jitters is the closest detail of real emotion the audience receives from I Put a Hit on You. As soon as Harper gives Ray the rundown, the two coup themselves up in Ray’s apartment and plan ways to either cancel the deal or escape. However, neither one seems worried by the ordeal.
Call me crazy or old fashioned, but I would be a bit more than perturbed if my wife openly told me that in a tipsy stupor, she swapped my life with someone random online. I more than expect she would feel a similar sense of fear. So, it’s frustrating to watch two characters murmur and crack wise as they anticipate a dangerous confrontation.
I can’t fathom as to why filmmakers/screenwriters Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart chose such a schleppy approach to their material. The film has all the potential to be hip and sexy with its swanky eye for Toronto nightlife. It could’ve also brought those scenes of venting in tow to add depth to Harper and Ray’s obviously troubling relationship.
But before all of that, I Put a Hit on You needs stamina. And, a happening spirit. And, to be breathing. Clark and Stewart have misunderstood that bottle films (movies taking place in one location) must match their given environment. Since Harper and Ray are trapped in an apartment, the film has all the vitality of being trapped in an apartment with two bickering mumblers.
Ashmore and Canning are good looking actors who have found a groove to make the film’s leading relationship somewhat convincing. But, the dialogue has a loose fit to what should be taut, and Clark and Stewart’s direction suggests that maybe the directorial duo were often snoozing on Ray’s couch.
I suppose this is Canada’s answer to the American “mumblecore” movement coined by the Duplass brothers. Those movies have launched the Duplass’ careers, with Mark Duplass now starring in hit TV shows and films. I don’t see I Put a Hit on You doing anything for anyone.