In fact, that's what drives her to make a test case out of poor Donald, a trust-fund kid who has never found his feet. (His avocation is fixing broken toasters.)So far, so passable, but script from Denise O'Rourke is big on coincidences and weak on psychology. It's also full of the mock working-classisms that pass for ordinary speech in too many indie pics. Cheryl's combo of tough-chick talk and bohemian strivings (she can't remember Picasso's name) doesn't click, despite the strenuous efforts of Follows, who has survived her "Anne of Green Gables" phase only to turn into Kathleen Turner. Presumably, she could handle a rougher, sexier role than this one, which just bogs down in confusion.Woolvett's character also is given too many tonal shifts, resulting in loss of aud sympathy and interest --- with a big revelation about his religious upbringing falling flat.Most crucially, Follows and Woolvett don't connect chemically, so pic's core remains hollow.Gallanders fares better in a one-note role; Jason's a fast-talking con man with little inner life, and his lines, given appropriately glib treatment here, provide reliable comic relief. Overall, "Angel" never rises above tube level, with so-so tech credits, timid sex scenes and a bland Canuck alternarock score lending events a dated, washed-out quality. Attempt to graft a "real" angelic subtext onto ending is cute, but doesn't mean much.

In fact, that’s what drives her to make a test case out of poor Donald, a trust-fund kid who has never found his feet. (His avocation is fixing broken toasters.)So far, so passable, but script from Denise O’Rourke is big on coincidences and weak on psychology. It’s also full of the mock working-classisms that pass for ordinary speech in too many indie pics. Cheryl’s combo of tough-chick talk and bohemian strivings (she can’t remember Picasso’s name) doesn’t click, despite the strenuous efforts of Follows, who has survived her “Anne of Green Gables” phase only to turn into Kathleen Turner. Presumably, she could handle a rougher, sexier role than this one, which just bogs down in confusion.Woolvett’s character also is given too many tonal shifts, resulting in loss of aud sympathy and interest — with a big revelation about his religious upbringing falling flat.Most crucially, Follows and Woolvett don’t connect chemically, so pic’s core remains hollow.Gallanders fares better in a one-note role; Jason’s a fast-talking con man with little inner life, and his lines, given appropriately glib treatment here, provide reliable comic relief. Overall, “Angel” never rises above tube level, with so-so tech credits, timid sex scenes and a bland Canuck alternarock score lending events a dated, washed-out quality. Attempt to graft a “real” angelic subtext onto ending is cute, but doesn’t mean much.

Reluctant Angel

Canadian

Production

(CANADIAN)A Blackwatch Releasing/William R Mariani presentation of an Arrakis Films (Toronto) production. Produced by Michael Doherty. Executive producers, William R. Mariani, Antony I. Ginnane, Peter C. Emerson. Co-producer, Scott Garvie.Directed by John Helliker. Screenplay, Denise O'Rourke.

Crew

Camera (color), Gerald Packer; editor, Michael Doherty; music, Ben Johannsen, Geoff Bennett, Longo Hai; production design, Ingrid Jurek; set decoration, Rosalie Board; costumes, Tamara Winston; sound, Peter Clements; assistant director, Robert Appelbe. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival, Oct. 1, 1997. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Megan Follows, Jaimz Woolvett, James Gallanders, Anne Marie Loder, Victor Ertmanis, Martin Villafana, Jeff M. Hall, J.W. Carroll, Simon Sinn, Christina Collins, Jacki Laidlaw.
With: Megan Follows, Jaimz Woolvett, James Gallanders, Anne Marie Loder, Victor Ertmanis, Martin Villafana, Jeff M. Hall, J.W. Carroll, Simon Sinn, Christina Collins, Jacki Laidlaw.Agentle, generally likable urban comedy, "Reluctant Angel" doesn't have quite enough edge or oomph to distinguish it from dozens of similar small pics. Perfs are engaging enough, but the characters fail to climb out of cable-TV ghetto, where pic is likely to end up.Angel of the title is Cheryl (Megan Follows), a plucky Toronto hustler who literally bumps into the nerdy Donald (Jaimz Woolvett), who's on his usual bender when the car driven by Cheryl's ne'er-do-well b.f., Jason (James Gallanders), sort of knocks him down. Without help from Jason, Cheryl drags the drunken Donald back to his crummy apartment to make sure he's OK. She ends up staying, prompting the hungover man's next-morning belief that he's been rescued by an emissary from above.Hardly. Cheryl --- a would-be artist from a small town --- is just as much a scam artist as Jason is, and the couple has a competitive streak that threatens to erupt into outright warfare.
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