Sunday, September 07, 2008

Review: Real Time

My first film this year was a Canadian production from sophomore director Randall Cole called Real Time. His previous film, 19 Months, has a pretty poor rating on imdb, but I apparently overlooked that piece of data when I selected this film. Hey, I was pinched for time, okay?

Somehow, Randall managed to sign up some relatively big names to star in a film that is rather small in scope. Jay Baruchel is Canadian, so it's not hard to guess how he got involved in a Canadian director's film. Jay splits his time between large roles in Canadian productions and small ones in American productions, including Almost Famous, Million Dollar Baby, Knocked Up, and most recently, Tropic Thunder. Randy Quaid, a Texan with over 100 credits on imdb, is a mystery.

The film's title comes from the claim that the entire movie is shown somewhat in real time (I didn't spend a lot of time staring at my watch, so I can't verify this claim), about 78 minutes worth. Baruchel plays Andy, a young gambling addict who owes $68k to a small time mob boss. Andy, not being all that bright, worsens the situation by making fun of said boss's harelip. Quaid plays Reuben, the mob boss's Australian employee, who volunteered to off Andy. It seems Reuben has a soft spot for Andy, so he wants him to have an hour to make peace with his sad life before he puts a bullet in his head. Nice guy, eh?

Together they visit a corner Andy claims is patrolled by a prostitute resembling Rosie Perez, a fast food chicken restaurant where he was once employed, and his grandmother's house, from whom he admits to stealing goods he later sold to a pawn shop. Eventually, Reuben leads them to a wooded area near town where he allows Andy to have one last look at the city from afar before he brings things to a somewhat surprising conclusion.

The script hits sometimes, but occasionally borders on trite. Some of the comedy succeeds, while other jokes fall flat, and though they billed it as a suspense film, I don't know that I was ever on the edge of my seat. I did, surprisingly, feel for the characters at the end of it, so I'll give them a thumb up for making me care about the characters. My imdb rating: 6/10.

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