Alan Thicke, in one of his final roles, is exceptional as self-help guru Patrick Spencer in It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway. As Spencer, Thicke is expected to peddle encouraging apathy with a smile – using nothing more than charisma to make his pitch. To think countless hosting gigs and ironic cameos didn’t prepare the entertainer for this movie would be foolish.
A crowd of fans listen intently to Patrick Spencer as he talks about his outlook on life (which also provides the film with its title, which I’ll try to save us the trouble of reading over and over again). Writer/director Chris Craddock is wise not to make fun of these listeners – they’re practically the filmmaker’s audience. Movie goers are obviously aware of the horrible life advice, but we can’t help but be just as hooked as the most faithful Patrick Spencer follower. Thicke always had a knack for gathering attention with an amusing yet likeable charm. Craddock, looking at his film with an outsider’s perspective, keenly crafted the perfect role for the late actor.
The rest of the film pales in comparison to Thicke’s work. A typical crime yarn is intercut from three perspectives (Patrick Spencer, sexually-driven damsel Diana [Leah Doz], and shellshocked thug Brian [Quinton Aaron]), and Craddock constantly shuffles through each of these angles to make a coherent plot about a gritty kidnapping. The film receives bonus points for giving these retellings some context (Diana intriguingly spills the beans to fellow sexaholics during a rehabilitation session, Brian is interrogated by the police), but the storytelling sags when Quinton Aaron takes the wheel. The actor (known for his stoic demeanour in The Blind Side) has trouble locating the correct tone for Brian’s story of drug use, messy shakedowns, and the climactic crime, especially since his tale also includes a disgusting back-to-back gross-out gag. Aaron has shown he has dramatic chops, but Chris Craddock’s off-brand of dark humour is what makes this performance problematic.
It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway may be as cumbersome as its title, but it earns memorability nonetheless for presenting Alan Thicke at the top of his form.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie