"Good Neighbors" is a romantic-comedy-cum-serial-killer-movie that bends genre to the point of snapping.

Suggesting the old “Saturday Night Live” ad for “Shimmer” (“It’s a floor wax! It’s a dessert topping!”), “Good Neighbors” is a romantic-comedy-cum-serial-killer-movie that bends genre to the point of snapping. Pic resembles writer-helmer Jacob Tierney’s previous effort, “The Trotsky,” in that it also stars Jay Baruchel and shows a contempt for convention. But unlike its giddy predecessor, “Neighbors” never finds a comfortable groove, or a tone that would enable its convoluted yet predictable plotting to engage the viewer. Escape from Canadian cable seems unlikely.

The three principals — sourpuss waitress Louise (Emily Hampshire), sacrcastic, wheelchair-bound widower Spencer (Scott Speedman) and Victor (Baruchel), seemingly the nicest guy who ever lived — are residents of a Montreal apartment building. There’s no real reason for pic to be set on the eve of a 1995 Quebec sovereignty vote, other than to evoke a sense of national discord that’s reflected in the weird goings-on at home, plus the fact that a serial killer is stalking young women. To disclose more would give it all away, although “Good Neighbors” is the kind of movie where what you suspect may be the case is in fact the case.

Good Neighbors

Canada

Production

An Alliance Films presentation in association with Park Ex Pictures, with the participation of Telefilm Canada. (International sales: WME Global.) Produced by Kevin Tierney. Executive producers, Kirk D'Amico, Joe Iacono.

With

Directed, written by Jacob Tierney. Camera (color), Guy DuFaux; editor, Arthur Tarnowski; production designer, Anne Pritchard. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentations), Sept. 14, 2010. Running time: 100 MIN.
With: Jay Baruchel, Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire, Gary Farmer.
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