1 June 2010 | paladinfreelance
A Truly Well Done Comedy
Since "Young Triffie..." relies so much on the local dialects, details and character types of outport Newfoundland, it may at first be jarring to a viewer who is not familiar with the region. However, for those who do know it, and for those who appreciate well delineated character types in comedy, this movie is rewarding and enjoyable. Due to its, at times, nearly grisly content, there is a temptation to call this a black comedy. However, that is only true in comparison with the depthless slapstick that passes for comedy in mainstream film. In a more classical and theatrical sense, this is a fine comedy with a compelling narrative backbone which supports a variety of fascinating characters. The darker elements also speak to the rich comic history of Newfoundland, in which laughter is a survival tool in the face of adversity, and humour can be found in the bleakest of situation.
Fred Ewaniuck does a fine turn as the young Ranger, playing well into the stereotype of a "Come From Away" who is initially mystified in the face of outport life. He is reminiscent of early Rowan Atkinson, and there are some moments of truly brilliant physical comedy that make this movie fun to watch.
Mary Walsh as Millie Bishop is dead on the money in her character portrayal. She has played this character type since her days on WGB and in this film seems to have finally perfected it. As the director, she's carried off the balance of comedy and mystery very well, keeping the film from tipping too far one way or the other.
The other performers were well cast and do a fine job of carrying off their various character types. Andrea Martin, especially, is especially enjoyable in a deliberately over the top role that still manages to pull off a few believable moments of depth.
It's not a perfect movie. The soundtrack is somewhat jarring at times when it veers into, as someone else commented, Loony Toons territory. Similarly, I found some of the flashback scenes a little bit off from what I saw as their intent. Finally, I thought the climax of the film was a little bit rushed and sloppy, although not enough to derail the story.
Fans of works like Tom Sharpe's novels, Monty Python or "A Fish Called Wanda" will definitely enjoy this film. However, I suspect that since that's a limited subset of film fans, this movie will be relegated to cult status. That's not bad, but I think it deserves better.