THE WORLD OF COMEDY FILM FESTIVAL Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
There's no dearth of amateurish comic short films out there, as anyone who's wasted hours on YouTube or Comedy Central's website will tell you.
So the annual World Of Comedy Film Festival comes as a tonic. Its four programs of comic shorts, as well as a feature, get some serious laughs.
The fest's opening-night shorts program (March 9) is particularly strong and wide-ranging.
Alex Weinress and Rob Carlton's Carmichael & Shane is a mock doc about a single father in Australia who copes with the pressures of raising his twin boys by choosing a favourite. Carlton himself plays the dad with deadpan hilarity, using his real boys as the sons. There's great footage of the kids crying or laughing that reinforce the jokes.
Ryan Levin's The Fifth takes the phrase "dark humour" to a new level. Four poker buddies are having trouble finding a fifth. The problem? One of them's a serial killer, who often arrives with his prey in hand. The banality of the poker game and the bald, nebbishy killer (Samuel Lloyd) are hilariously juxtaposed with the blood-stained reality of the murders. Sick as hell, but funny.
At 29 minutes, Marty Weiss's The Pre-nup is the longest short on the slate. It's a cute, if predictable, film about the prenuptial legal arrangement between a once-divorced-and-burned Hollywood studio exec (Bruce Altman) and his schoolteacher fiancée (Marcy Kaplan). The production values are slick and professional, and the funniest thing about the film - besides some scene-stealing by Larry Miller as one of the sleazy lawyers - is that the plot's probably quite realistic.
Rounding out the opening night program is Shaun The Sheep "Still Life," another fine short from Aardman Animations. Here, a gibberish-spouting farmer takes up the easel to paint his sheep, who aren't the most obedient models. The claymation is predictably brilliant, with some terrific visual gags and a succinct, quick-moving story.
March 9-11 at Innis Town Hall.