Friday, 2 December 2011

Film review: Rob Ford's "Mayor of Toronto"

Director Rob Ford has taken a bold new approach to filmmaking in his new film, Mayor of Toronto.

But does it hold up to any sort of critical scrutiny?

In a word, no. Ford's directorial method in Mayor of Toronto is severely lacking in any sort of cohesion or strategy, and what's on screen is a jumbled mess of catch-phrases and gravy. And folks, gravy doesn't project very well through celluloid.

Mayor of Toronto is a farcical drama about frustration, anger, and lots of tax dollars. Think Margin Call with Mr. Magoo. In addition to writing and directing, Ford also plays the title role, albeit with limited success. (It would appear "hamming" on screen has been given a new, greasier meaning) 

Mayor of Toronto opens with Ford's landslide victory back in 2010, and montages up 'til present to give the audience a sense of what has transpired in the city since the election, which is represented by a giant knife slashing through budgets like a turkey dinner.

A still from Mayor of Toronto. 
Flash forward to now, where Ford has really stepped in it. As mentioned before, the film is about frustration — the city is angry, and its up to Rob and his brother Doug (Jon Voight) to save his flagging reputation.

Unfortunately, the film is way, way too long. In fact, it's probably a year and a half too long, and Mayor of Toronto will have you squirming in your seats only minutes after opening. In fairness, I should mention some highlights: while Ford's feature length debut is ultimately boring and annoying, there are scenes that are definitely hilarious, and a standoff involving a library and Margaret Atwood (Sigourney Weaver) is sure to have you talking after the film. These moments, while initially cute, begin to pile up against Mayor of Toronto. They become silly, ignorant, and altogether embarrassing. 

It actually gets so bad, you'll soon start to wonder if you accidentally stumbled into a Mr. Bean movie they seem so inept. The writing is curt and uninspired; the jokes are corny and offensive. "Get a job!" Ford yells to a homeless man riding a bicycle. "And then buy a truck!"

The saving grace of the film is Ford's talking bucket of KFC chicken, played astutely by Giorgio Mammolitti. It would appear that taking a dump on the city is not the only thing he is good at: you can now add voice acting to Mammolitti's elbow-long list of achievements. 

Otherwise, the film falls flat on its face as soon as it opens, and I'm not sure how the studios ever greenlit this complete waste of time and energy. Don't spend your money, guys: Mayor of Toronto is a cash-grab for buffoons who buy into schlocky slogans and Adam Sandler movies. 


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