By: Trevor Chartrand
Who’s Yer Father?, from writer/director Jeremy Larter (Pogey Beach), is a quirky dark comedy with an Eastern Canadian twist. Funny and fast-paced, this movie has a stylized bluntness to it; almost as if it’s Prince Edward Island’s own Napoleon Dynamite – but with a much more sinister tone.
The film stars comedian Chris Locke (Filth City, CBC’s Run the Burbs) as Larry Constable, a happy-go-lucky PEI private eye, whose mundane cases involve tracking down lost casserole dishes, more often than not. When he’s hired to investigate a black market lobster ring, the aloof detective is too clueless to understand that he’s in way over his head. Fortunately for Constable, he pairs up with an equally-incompetent (but much more ambitious) convenience store clerk, Rhonda Perry (This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ Susan Kent, recently seen in Hands That Bind), and together they uncover a series of nasty local secrets – secrets they can exploit for financial gain.
This film is simultaneously charming and zany, with characters who are nasty yet wholesome all at once. Juxtaposition is in abundance here, giving the film a unique allure complete with snappy dialogue at a breakneck pace. There’s never a dull moment, especially with a narrative that starts silly (and somewhat grounded) and escalates to someplace beyond absurdity by the end. In a word, Who’s Yer Father? is relentless.
Larter’s writing, and especially his direction, are the glue that holds a film like this together. The cast perform these kooky characters in a way that services this particular story, which is a testament to the director and his clear ability to communicate his vision to the cast. There’s a subdued wackiness to each performance that could only have been coordinated by this singular vision. It’s this consistency from the entire cast that is essential to the film’s world-building.
And speaking of vision, Who’s Yer Father? is a decent-looking film by design. The filmmakers utilize brightly coloured sets, shooting them wide and flat to create eye-pleasing comedy backdrops. There’s a classic simplicity to the film’s visual style, which is effective and smooth.
Now, audiences should note that there is a casual raunchiness to Larter’s film that could be off-putting to some viewers. This is a film for adult audiences and it’s overtly crass; sometimes unnecessarily so. Having said that, this is a tough thing to judge because the film’s vulgarities are essentially what adds to its charm, in a strange way. For example, when the goofball characters casually describe an orgy they’re watching through binoculars while hiding behind fake trees, the situation lends itself naturally to the humour of the movie. So sure, it’s nasty and it crosses the line, but the contrast in these scenes feels comedically appropriate overall.
Most importantly, Who’s Yer Father? is a filmmaker’s love letter to the Maritimes, a hyperbolic look at Eastern Canada and especially Prince Edward Island. But, it’s about more than just a lobster heist – the film moves as quick as Stompin’ Tom Connors can sing, with a story that goes in unexpected and highly comedic directions.
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Trevor Chartrand: @OhHaiTrebor