You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

One Week

OK as a mildly comic cross-country hymn to all things Canadian, "One Week" addresses its oft-repeated central question — "What would you do if you had one week to live?" — by giving us a protagonist who, faced with probably terminal illness, goes off on a motorcycle road trip that matches his personality.

Cast:
With: Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban, Fiona Reid, Chuck Shamata, Gordon Downie, Emm Gryner, Campbell Scott.

OK as a mildly comic cross-country hymn to all things Canadian, “One Week” addresses its oft-repeated central question — “What would you do if you had one week to live?” — by giving us a protagonist who, faced with probably terminal illness, goes off on a motorcycle road trip that matches his personality. Which is to say: kinda aimless, pleasant and bland. A labor of love for sophomore writer-director Michael McGowan (of well-received debut “Saint Ralph”) with too little viewer payoff, this innocuous item looks destined for smallscreen gigs beyond the Great White North.

Though he feels fine, Ben Tyler (Joshua Jackson) is informed he has Stage 4 cancer, with remote odds of long-term survival. Deciding to delay the grueling treatment regime, he bewilders his fiancee, Samantha (Liane Balaban), and his parents (Fiona Reid, Chuck Shamata) by buying a hog and taking off from Toronto on a westward journey of unknown duration. He visits novelty sites (world’s largest fire hydrant, etc.), meets some folks, ponders whether he really wants to get married and experiences a couple non-earth-shaking mishaps.

His adventure is commented on a lot by an omniscient narrator (Campbell Scott, briefly seen at the end), who also contributes much Canuck trivia. Further stabs at freewheeling cuteness arrive via flashbacks to Ben’s formative disappointments and flash-forwards to the life changes his presence accidentally visits upon passing new acquaintances. Trouble is, our hero himself doesn’t change or become someone truly interesting. He’s just Generic Nice Guy, duly played with wry amiability by Jackson.

Ben always wanted to be a writer, though that got discouraged, — but nothing here suggests he’d have anything to say, particularly about his own life experiences. He worries Samantha is too boring and normal for him. But apart from his air of slackerish discontent, those same adjectives might just as easily apply to Ben.

The yearning to be creative and special — while it can be poignant in itself — shouldn’t be confused with being those things, a mistake McGowan appears to be make here. Nor does he surround Ben with the kinds of memorable incidents or supporting figures that might actually lend him distinctive character.

Result is inoffensive. But even the protag’s looming mortality never seems more than a familiar narrative gimmick.

Similarly, Arthur E. Cooper’s widescreen lensing captures much spectacular scenery unspectacularly; the soundtrack is wallpapered with Canadian contemporary singer-songwriter tracks that are nice, but tend to blur together. All other aspects are pro if uninspired.

One Week

Canada

Production: A Mongrel Media presentation of a Mulmur Feed Co. production. (International sales: Maximum Films Intl., Toronto.) Produced by Michael McGowan, Nicholas de Pencier, Jane Tattersall. Executive producers, Richard Hanet, Joshua Jackson. Co-producers, Avi Federgreen, Michael Chechik. Directed, written by Michael McGowan.

Crew: Camera (color), Arthur E. Cooper; editor, Roderick Deogrades; music, Andrew Lockington; music supervisors, Jody Colero, Marco Deifelice; production designer, Malcolm Byard; costume designer, Julie O’Brien; sound, Stephan Carrier, Kirk Lynds; assistant director, Fergus Barnes; casting, John Buchan. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Gala Presentations), Sept. 10, 2008. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban, Fiona Reid, Chuck Shamata, Gordon Downie, Emm Gryner, Campbell Scott.

More Film

  • TYLER PERRY'S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN

    Film Review: 'Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween'

    OK as a mildly comic cross-country hymn to all things Canadian, “One Week” addresses its oft-repeated central question — “What would you do if you had one week to live?” — by giving us a protagonist who, faced with probably terminal illness, goes off on a motorcycle road trip that matches his personality. Which is […]

  • Lupita Nyong'o Harvey Weinstein

    Lupita Nyong'o Details Harvey Weinstein's Advances Toward Her in Op-Ed: 'I Felt Unsafe'

    OK as a mildly comic cross-country hymn to all things Canadian, “One Week” addresses its oft-repeated central question — “What would you do if you had one week to live?” — by giving us a protagonist who, faced with probably terminal illness, goes off on a motorcycle road trip that matches his personality. Which is […]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Co. Staffers Ask to Be Released From NDAs

    OK as a mildly comic cross-country hymn to all things Canadian, “One Week” addresses its oft-repeated central question — “What would you do if you had one week to live?” — by giving us a protagonist who, faced with probably terminal illness, goes off on a motorcycle road trip that matches his personality. Which is […]

  • The Snowman Trailer

    'The Snowman' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    OK as a mildly comic cross-country hymn to all things Canadian, “One Week” addresses its oft-repeated central question — “What would you do if you had one week to live?” — by giving us a protagonist who, faced with probably terminal illness, goes off on a motorcycle road trip that matches his personality. Which is […]

  • Harvey Weinstein Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino on Harvey Weinstein: 'I Knew Enough to Do More Than I Did'

    OK as a mildly comic cross-country hymn to all things Canadian, “One Week” addresses its oft-repeated central question — “What would you do if you had one week to live?” — by giving us a protagonist who, faced with probably terminal illness, goes off on a motorcycle road trip that matches his personality. Which is […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content