A tight script, smart casting and sharp direction prevail over modest production values in "Run Robot Run!" a sci-fi spoof of corporate culture. Sweet-tempered pic may be a mite small-scaled for multiplex marathons, but careful wiring could take it some distance on urban circuits.

A tight script, smart casting and sharp direction prevail over modest production values in “Run Robot Run,!” a sci-fi spoof of corporate culture. Sweet-tempered pic may be a mite small-scaled for multiplex marathons, but careful wiring could take it some distance on urban circuits.

Pic’s main protag is Kent, a stiff-lipped Brit played impeccably by standup comedian Chris Gibbs. Kent shows few signs of being super at the futuristic entertainment facility where he works. A tweedy, by-the-book sort of guy, he seems an unlikely candidate to work at a dream factory — that’s truly what they make — but his routine ways are somewhat balanced by the slobby improvisations of his innovative programmer pal (funny Christian Potenza).

What Kent really strives for is recognition from his own Lois Lane, comely co-worker Allison (smartly whimsical Lara Kelly), although she mostly laughs at his eccentric ways.

Things heat up when a handsome new colleague gets his own cubicle in the cool-gray building. Not only is Adam (Peter Mooney) good at everything, he is instantly liked by the staff, including Allison, who shows a keen interest.

Not being able to compete well in any area, and not noticing that Adam has certain same-sex tendencies, Kent decides to reveal Adam’s robotic origins — a knowledge androids themselves don’t have in this transitional period.

Helmer-scripter Daniel O’Connor could have carried his social observations a bit further, and the notion of manufacturing dreams could surely have prompted some more elaborate visuals. But he gives his game thesps plenty of room to riff on theirendearing foibles, with results that are more “Office Space” than “Space Invaders.”

Smooth production design hits all the right buttons, along with clever use of Toronto locations.

Run Robot Run!

Canada

Production

A Darius Films/Laughing Man Prods. production. (International sales: Laughing Man Prods., Toronto.) Produced by Daniel O'Connor. Executive producer, Nicholas Tabarrock. Directed, written by Daniel O'Connor.

Crew

Camera (color, HD cam), D. Gregor Hagey; editor, Gareth C. Scales; music, Evelyne Datl, John Weisman; music supervisor, David Hayman; production designer, Vlasta Svoboda; art director, David Chevalier; set decorator, Jason MacIsaac; costume designer, Emily Cade; sound (Dolby), Tim Lue; sound designer, Garrett Kerr; line producer, Philip Svoboda; assistant director, Hayden Topperwein; casting, Karen Hazzard, Jenny Lewis, Millie Tom. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival, Oct. 13, 2006. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Chris Gibbs, Lara Kelly, Peter Mooney, Christian Potenza, Paolo Mancini, Renee Percy, Sandi Ross, Don Allison, Brad Papernicks.
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