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Canuck dramedy could've been longer

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IF this Canadian dramatic comedy about a trigger-happy guy were just a movie trailer, it wouldn't be coming soon to a theatre near you.

It would be coming too soon. Way too soon.

Forgive the glib opening here. The subject of premature ejaculation is something a male reviewer feels an instinctive need to joke about.

But the virtue of Vancouver-based director Bruce Sweeney's brave new effort is that he turns what could have been crude and cruel comedy into something honest and sensitive.

Thank goodness Sweeney, a long-time favourite of the Canuck art-house crowd with such contemporary comedies as Dirty and Last Wedding, beat Hollywood to the punch with this mortifying topic.

In the hands of someone like, say, Judd Apatow, Excited would likely sell a zillion more tickets -- and, granted, it would have more visual heft -- but it would be several times less truthful (though no more sexually explicit).

The protagonist is a nebbishy single Vancouver guy, Kevin (Cam Cronin), who seems painfully inept around women. This despite being well into his 30s and operating a thriving golf course in partnership with his much studlier brother Randy (Paul Skrudland).

The source of Kevin's relationship problems becomes clear after his sister-in-law fixes him up with one of her friends, an athletic shoe saleswoman, Hayaam (Laara Sadiq).

But the movie holds interests not just for its squirm-inducing high concepts. It has numerous smaller pleasures, among them its wintry Vancouver setting (the overcast skies set the film's emotional tone) and the casting of two Muslim-Canadian actresses playing against type as urbanized and sexy second-generation Canadian women.

Kevin's family dynamics are even more fascinating. Dominated by a hilariously overbearing mother (Gabrielle Rose), this WASPy clan is at once unhealthily intertwined and admirably close.

Sweeney's script is filled with droll one liners, better than much of what Woody Allen has offered in recent years.

Excited could have used a larger budget and, surprisingly, a little more length. But that would be damning it, er, prematurely.

morley.walker@freepress.mb.ca

MovieReview

Excited

-- Directed by Bruce Sweeney

-- Cinematheque, Aug. 13-15 and 18

-- 18A

3 1/2 out of five stars

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 13, 2010 D4

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