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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 08.01.12] Canada comedy thriller

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It's never a good idea to exact revenge on your boss without professional help because more often than not, when you proceed with your half baked plan things are bound to end badly as is the case in Mon Ami. Tales of botched plans are nothing new but few end quite as badly as this one, or with this high a body count. But then Teddy and Callum aren't exactly geniuses.

The best friends work together at the family owned hardware store where Teddy is the manager but when the boss retires and passes him over and brings his sons in to run the shop, Teddy finds himself stuck in a job that's going nowhere. One would think that being overlooked would spur him into finding a new job but instead this genius agrees to hi buddy's quick-money-and-revenge scheme: kidnapping.

As soon as Teddy and Callum go to pick-up the supplies needed to pull off their plan, it's clear that they don't know what they're doing and that things are going to end badly. With each passing moment the situation goes from bad to worse. Teddy and Callum are clearly clueless but they push on, at each step convincing themselves that they don't have any other options and even when it looks like things can't get any worse, they do.

Mon Ami doesn't provide many jokes, but there is much humour and many laughs interwoven into the story. These two characters are clearly incompetent, in and of itself amusing, and every step they take towards rectifying their mistakes only leads them further into moments of hilarity and more trouble. When the kidnapped girl's family shows up to claim her, it looks like the boys are done making mistakes but the late arrival of Teddy's wife doesn't only save their lives but it also elevates Mon Ami into another level of crazy and Teddy's obsessive wife becomes even more unhinged and takes out her fears on anyone nearby.

The movie works because writer/director Rob Grant doesn't force the jokes; the comedy organically manifests in this story and though the situation doesn't start off as a joke, it quickly turns into one. It also helps that Teddy and Callum, played with restraint by Mike Kovac and Scott Wallis, are likable characters. Again, they don't start off that way but there is something endearing about both their friendship and the way in which they'll do (almost) anything for each other and that rubs off, even when they're calculating if a nail gun has enough force to kill their intended victim.

Though it's unmistakably a comedy, Mon Ami also happens to be a very bloody thriller, one where the bodies don't just pile up, they pile up in staggering fashion. Most of the lead up to the kills is light hearted but when it comes right down to it, Grant and his special effects team don't shy away from the violence though they smartly keep many of the truly bloody bits off screen, a smart and effective way to save budget, they do give the audience a few choice moments including a fantastic headshot.

Mon Ami may not look like much to start but the movie quickly digs into the story, revealing not only the charm of Teddy and Callum but also their plan which soon turns into a hugely entertaining comedy of errors.

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