Pelicanman (Liisa Helminen, Finland). 89 min. Subtitled. Saturday (April 30), 12:30 pm, Canada Square; May 7, 1:15 pm, Grande. Rating: NN
SPROCKETS TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN opens Friday (April 29) and runs to May 8, various locations. $11.25, child $7.25, passes available. 416-968-3456, www.bell.ca/sprockets. For complete Sprockets schedule, see Indie & Rep Film, page 117.
This pointless bit of Scandinavian whimsy shows what happens when a pelican takes human form and befriends a 10-year-old boy who's distraught over his parents' separation. Kari Katonen earns some chuckles as the humanoid bird. He's a graceful physical comic who probably graduated from Finland's equivalent of Second City. The best scenes show him mimicking human traits and falling beak-over-heels for a tutu'd ballerina from Swan Lake.
Unfortunately, his little human friend is pretty inexpressive, and director Liisa Helminen seems more intent on showing us silly situations than on connecting any of the plot elements or themes. Too bad, because this could have been a bittersweet coming-of-age tale - ET meets My Life As A Dog.