Michelle Harrison and Kirk Caouette strike lots of wrong notes.
HIT ’N STRUM (Kirk Caouette). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (April 5). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: N
It's hard to even account for Hit 'N Strum. Did writer/director Kirk Caouette snap awake, wrested from some boring dream, muttering, "I have to tell this super-banal story about a high-powered executive who forges a relationship with a magical drifter"?
Opening on a flat montage of the Vancouver skyline that seems to deliberately evoke Tommy Wiseau's blundering establishing shots in The Room, Hit 'N Strum wastes little time setting up its heavy-handed premise. While distractedly driving to work in her luxury sedan, Stephanie (Michelle Harrison) runs over Mike (Caouette), a homeless busker, and peels away frantically. To lighten her guilt, she buys him a $3,000-plus guitar, kicking off a give-and-take in which Mike gets some free lunches and Stephanie learns about how true and beautiful the world is via her contact with a hard-strummin' outsider.
Homelessness is a real problem in Vancouver, but Caouette's content to regard the dispossessed as bohemian vagabonds, their closeness to the streets imbuing them with a rarefied authenticity. There's even a cartoonish Rasta offering advice like "Ya got a blockage in ya soul, bwai!"
It'd almost be offensive if weren't so miserably naive.