Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Wrong Guy

The Wrong Guy
Buena Vista Home Video
Released: September 2002
Director: David Steinberg
90:00 minutes

Dave Foley, known for his roles as Dave Nelson on Newsradio and as the most feminine looking of the Kids in the Hall, stars in The Wrong Guy, a terrifically funny movie that you are likely to have never seen and probably never heard of.

One reason you have never heard of this movie is that it was released in 1997 in Canada, then in July of 1998 in Poland. It was only in September of 2002 was this movie released directly to video in the United States.

The story follows Nelson Hibbert, a company executive who goes in to have it out with his boss only to find out his boss has been murdered. He then panics, makes some horrific blunders that would make anyone believe that he did it, and goes on the run, thinking all the while that the police are hot on his trail.

Thing is, a security camera catches the actual murderer on tape, and the police know Nelson Hibbert didn't do it.

Thus begins a tale in which Nelson, as the bumbling idiot, stumbles his way from one town to the next in an attempt to escape the authorities he believes are on his tail. On the way he meets up with a narcoleptic love interest (Played by Meg Tilly) and runs into the real killer (Colm Feore, whom you've seen in thousands of films but probably don't realize it) as well as a some minor appearances by Kevin McDonald as a hotel clerk and Joe Flaherty as a simple country banker.

To reveal any more about this movie would ruin some of the jokes, which come frequent and are filled with a lot of originality, it strays away from doing a simply parody of The Fugitive, which was done in 1998's Wrongfully Accused, and instead delivers a madcap romp that has the same kind of tone and pacing as a good Simpsons episode (remember those?)

The directing was done by David Steinberg, a veteran of directing television series such as Seinfeld, It's Garry Shandling's Show and, post-movie, Curb Your Enthusiasm. The experience in directing comedy shines here, where sight gags and timing isn't ruined by inappropriate framing or clunky shot progression. There's one really good gag at the end, at a miniature golf course that requires a lot on the skill of the director, and Steinberg pulls it off well.

Also of note is that Steinberg doesn't make the mistake that most film directors make in a transition to film directing, and that is a tendency to use a lot of static shots with heavy cutting. The camera moves and, when it moves, its appropriate and elegant. Mind you, it isn't the cinema beauty of Run, Lola Run, but it's a few steps above from the clunkiness of Dogma.

Of note is that David Foley wanted to direct this himself, but his shooting schedule for Newsradio didn't allow him to do it.

Also of note is that this movie is the main reason that Dave Foley does not have a writing credit on the Kids in the Hall movie Brain Candy. This movie, along with his shooting schedule for Newsradio, did not give him time to help write the final draft of Brain Candy. This makes one wonder if Brain Candy would have been slightly better had Mr. Foley gotten one last crack at it.

Disappointingly, this DVD is one of those where all you get is a movie, surround sound, and subtitles for other languages. It's too bad there really isn't anything extra of value, because a commentary by Dave Foley or David Steinberg would have been really a plus on a movie like this.

At the very least you get The Wrong Guy, which is a hilarious movie and a fine addition to any DVD comedy library.

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