DODGING THE CLOCK (HORLOGE BIOLOGIQUE) (Ricardo Trogi). Subtitled. 100 minutes. Opens Friday (November 18). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Dodging The Clock is a mild, bittersweet Montreal comedy about a trio of 30ish men panicked at the thought of fatherhood. One's already got a baby, one has a pregnant girlfriend, and the girlfriend of the third wants to become pregnant. All three resent their situation and struggle to escape, meanwhile hanging with their single buddies at the disco and the strip club. Director Ricardo Trogi and writers Jean-Philippe Pearson and Patrice Robitaille think they're onto a male universal, and they throw in plenty of ape and caveman gags to remind us. These are funny enough, but fear of fatherhood may well be a more localized problem. The film's glaringly odd omission is of an older generation who can ease our trio of amiable mutts through the transition; it's only Western urban civilization that tries to live without elders.
Pearson and Robitaille have a good handle on male psychology and build sympathy for their guys without sacrificing realism or distorting the women into harpies. They themselves play two of the leads, and they're charming, as is the whole cast, and have some funny, well-written scenes to play.
But there's not much of a story until the third act, when everyone's schemes go wrong. Till then the film consists of a premise and illustrative scenes that don't seem to be building toward anything at all.
Trogi directs with an even pace and a TV-friendly medium-shot style. The result is a modest movie that occasionally teeters toward tedium despite its endearing moments and unforced humour.