Much of Michael Mabbott's overextended mockumentary has the insular feel of something made for a small group of people. But "The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico" also boasts some modestly amusing snippets of on-target satire, along with a few hilarious episodes of self-parody by real-life pop and country music heavyweights.

Much of Michael Mabbott’s overextended mockumentary has the insular feel of something made for a small group of people, most of whom actually were involved in its production. But “The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico” also boasts some modestly amusing snippets of on-target satire, along with a few hilarious episodes of self-parody by real-life pop and country music heavyweights. Whittled down to an hour or so, Canadian-produced comedy might work nicely in niche cable TV outlets.

Title character (enthusiastically played by Matt Murphy) is semi-legendary alt-country artist best remembered for chronic clumsiness and epic self-indulgence. Several years after his alleged death, Guy Terrifico is recalled in interviews with other fictional characters (including Natalie Radford as his unfortunately flatulent wife, and Jane Sowerby as his frightfully foul-mouthed mistress), and seemingly improvised chats with Merle Haggard (definitely not a fan), Kris Kristofferson and other luminaries.

Portrait of a marginally talented doofus gradually emerges. But the funniest thing on screen is genuine news footage of Kristofferson’s dazed acceptance speech at the 1970 Country Music Awards. Intentionally or not, pic often echoes Jordan Brady’s “Dill Scallion” (1999), a strikingly similar mockumentary about another klutzy country singer.

The Life And Hard Times of Guy Terrifico

Canada

Production

A Thousand Words and Alliance Atlantis presentation of a Darius Films production with the participation of Telefilm Canada, Astral Media and the Canadian Television Fund. Produced by Nicholas D. Tabarrok. Executive producers, Palmer West, Bryan Gilserman. Directed, written by Michael Mabbott.

Crew

Camera (color), Adam Swica; editor, Gareth C. Scales; music, Matt Murphy, Mabbott; production designer, Rupert Lazarus; sound, Rob Fletcher; assistant director, David "Colt" Coulter; casting, Lisa Parasyn. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Canada First!), Sept. 8, 2005. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Guy Terrifico - Matt Murphy Mary Lou - Natalie Radford Loni Lipvanchuck - Jane Sowerby Stanley Jablowski - Len Doncheff Vera Jablowski - Joan Heney Mr. Stuff - Lyriq Bent
Also: Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Donnie Fritts, Phil Kaufman, Levon Helm, Rob Bowman, Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins.

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