Review: ‘Suck’

Pic is an indie-rock-scene satire (plus vampires) whose songlist vastly outweighs its laugh quotient.

The weakest element in Rob Stefaniuk’s very funny, very Canadian 2004 “Phil the Alien” was its bar-band song interludes, overly jokey in an otherwise deadpan comedy. Music must be Stefaniuk’s real love, though, since sophomore feature “Suck” is an indie-rock-scene satire (plus vampires) whose songlist vastly outweighs its laugh (let alone scare) quotient. Diverting without eking much hilarity or even novelty from a one-joke premise, this looks headed straight to cable and disc offshore.

Joey’s (Stefaniuk) 10-year-old band is still going nowhere. But after bassist Jen (Jessica Pare) goes home with a very pale, spooky, Anne Rice-fan-looking guy (Dimitri Coats), she returns suddenly goth-chic — averse to conventional food, unaccountably mesmerizing to hitherto indifferent audiences. Soon the Winners are living up to the band’s name, although they’re also being pursued by one Eddie Van Helsing (Malcolm McDowell). Main joke is that musician protags remain unchanged — self-absorbed, slackerish, obsessed with their Facebook hits — despite their new supernatural lifestyle. But a lot more fun could have been had at the expense of milieu and music than the script (or the soundtrack of pretty good original songs) tries for. Package is colorfully pro.




A Capri Films presentation of a Capri Vision production. (International sales: Capri Vision, Toronto.) Produced by Robin Crumley, Jeff Rogers. Executive producers, Gabriella Martinelli, Jeff Sackman, Brad Peyton, Terry Markus, Mihkel Harilaid. Directed, written by Rob Stefaniuk.


Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), D. Gregor Hagey; editor, Michele Conroy; music, John Kastner; production designer, Jim Goodall. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 12, 2009. Running time: 90 MIN.


Rob Stefaniuk, Jessica Pare, Paul Anthony, Mike Lobel, Chris Ratz, Dave Foley, Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Carole Pope, Alex Lifeson, Malcolm McDowell, Dimitri Coats.

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