GROWING OP (Michael Melski). 92 minutes. Opens Friday (November 21). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
Growing Op might fizzle as comedy, but it does answer the question “Whatever happened to Rosanna Arquette?” The former A-lister, whose charm and acting skills are intact, plays the mother hen in a family involved in growing weed in the burbs.
Their grow op, headed by an anal-retentive dad (CSI’s Wallace Langham), is at risk of being revealed when home-schooled son Quinn (Steven Yaffee), insists on attending high school so he can woo his new neighbour (Rachel Blanchard).
Toying with the coming-of-age and fish-out-of-water formulas and weaving in a lot of bad “grass” and “weed” puns, writer/director Michael Melski never finds the appropriate rhythms for his story. There’s a wonky sense of narrative, and the Canadian indie music soundtrack adds nothing to the proceedings.
Melski does know how to direct actors, however. Langham and Arquette have lovely rapport, and the film’s funniest line is a big theatre in-joke, when stage great Daniel MacIvor, playing an uptight doctor, gets to talk about a production of Hair.
Yaffee looks convincing as the geek next door, but he’s far too recessive an actor to make the film’s latter parts compelling. He could learn from Katie Boland, who plays his pot-dealer sister with ease, confidence and a knowing wink.