2 July 2009 | Wizard-8
Despite professionals in front of and behind the camera, it doesn't work
When I first heard about "Intern Academy" (a.k.a. "Whitecoats), I admit I was intrigued. The Canadian government finally funding a movie that has no pretentious and boring art, and instead is geared to a wide audience? Written and directed by funnyman Dave Thomas? I decided to check it out... though when I got the chance to see it for free, since I have been burned by too many bad Canadian films.
After seeing it, I'm glad I didn't pay any money to see it.
The problems with it are simple. First, there are the movie's production values. Now, I will admit that in recent years, the production values of Canadian films have improved greatly. But there is still a lot to be desired in a number of them, including those in this movie. While the movie doesn't look dirt cheap, it has the look of a television drama instead of a feature film.
The second (and main) reason why the movie doesn't work is simple: IT ISN'T FUNNY. Dave Thomas used to be funny - what happened when he wrote and directed this movie? The theory I have come up with is the setting: A hospital is a place full of pain, suffering, and death. It's still possible to find humor in this setting, but it needs a steady and sure hand. Thomas doesn't seem to have the ability to find funny (black) comedy in this setting. When interns throw human organs at each other, or vomit on corpses, it isn't funny, it's just gross.
P.S. - I would like to comment on the inept marketing campaign TVA Films put forth when they put this movie in Canadian theaters. Not only did they release it in about half the theaters an American release usually gets, but the promotion was lousy - I never saw a TV commercial for this movie, despite all the hours of TV I watch. And in the newspaper ads, they did not promote the name stars the movie had (Thomas, Dan Aykroyd, Matt Frewer, Saul Rubinek, and Dave Foley), instead promoting the no-name members of the cast! The problem with the Canadian film industry is not just that the government funds very few movies that might attract an audience, but when one does get made, the government does nothing to push distributors to properly market and release the movies.