Yet another look at twentysomethings shading uneasily into their thirties and wondering why life just hasn't been all it could be, "Something More" is an amiable, undemanding comedy. Its only real twist is that the bumbling guys are Canadian ---in fact, pic was shot in Regina, Saskatchewan, although that offbeat fact hardly gives it legs in the open market. After a short run in Canada, tube options will be appropriate.

Yet another look at twentysomethings shading uneasily into their thirties and wondering why life just hasn’t been all it could be, “Something More” is an amiable, undemanding comedy. Its only real twist is that the bumbling guys are Canadian —in fact, pic was shot in Regina, Saskatchewan, although that offbeat fact hardly gives it legs in the open market. After a short run in Canada, tube options will be appropriate.

The emotional problems of the pic’s shambling suburbanites, who meet for weekly bouts of basketball, cards, ciggy-sucking and general b.s.-ing, are universal to the point of stupefying obviousness. Fortunately, “Something” is cast well enough to make their plight ring somewhat true. “Party of Five” vet Michael Goorjian stands out as Sam, a tousle-haired romantic whose unrealistic notions of love and life keep him benched where a lot of really important stuff is concerned.

Sam fantasizes about women he barely knows, but things get more complicated when he meets ultra-blond Kelly (memorable Chandra West), an insurance-fraud investigator slowly disarmed by his brooding candor. He has a big problem, however, in his best friend, Jim (David Lovgren), who compulsive chases after any woman he — or anyone else, especially Sam — finds remotely attractive. Lovgren spookily recalls the young Christopher Walken, especially as a similar womanizer in “Next Stop, Greenwich Village.”

But our hero is given an even bigger hurdle by screenwriter Peter Bryant, who hands him a lot of half-baked lines to say. We’re always told what a smart, philosophical guy Sam is, but a lot of his utterances sound like iffy filler at best. When Jim goes off on a bar riff — itself cribbed from a New Agey waitress played by Jennifer Beals — about society’s collective unconscious and its sense of the coming apocalypse, Sam tersely responds, “Jean-Paul Sartre. Existential pessimism.” Huh?

Later, in a poorly staged sequence, Sam and his pals — generally more defined by pat quirks than by real personalities — beat some rivals in an amateur basketball tournament, and their big prize is 50 cases of high-quality beer. We see them wheeling their booty into a nearby garage, and then there’s a cut to them celebrating at their usual watering hole — where they each order a couple of Molsons! (Guess that garage wasn’t big enough for the whole camera crew.)

These are serious quibbles when a tale purports to be tackling modern problems in a realistic way — doubly so when it’s also supposed to be comic. The script makes little sense, but director Rob King and his engaging cast do their level best to cover the gaps.

Tech credits are OK but undistinguished. “More,” which sat on shelf for almost two years and was visited by unspecified editing gremlins, lives up to its name only because it started out with so little.

Something More

(ROMANTIC COMEDY -- CANADIAN)

Production

An Alliance Atlantis presentation of a Minds Eye Pictures production, in association with Eighty Seven Bears Images, with support from Telefilm Canada and the Harold Greenberg Fund. Produced by Kevin DeWalt, Maureen MacDonald. Executive producers, DeWalt, Peter Bryant. Directed by Rob King. Screenplay, Peter Bryant.

Crew

Camera (color), Jon Kranhouse; editors, Jackie Dzuba, others; music, Rob Bryanton; production designer, Marion Pon; set decorator, Kim Wall; costume designer, Catherine McComb; sound, Warrne St. Onge; sound designer, Bryanton; associate producers, Lisa Donohue, Josh Miller; assistant director, Jim Long; casting, Susan Peck, Wendy O'Brien Livingstone. Reviewed at the Fifth Avenue Cinema, Vancouver, Sept. 1, 1999. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

With: Michael Goorjian, Chandra West, David Lovgren, Thomas Cavanaugh, Jennifer Beals, Nathaniel DeVeux, Peter Flemming, Kurt Max Runte, Wendy Anderson , Brett Stone, Jan Bailet Mattia, Heather Hill, Kris Alvarez, Gaetana Korbin, Jack Semple.
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