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Phil the Alien

The sort of Canadian comedy that sounds funnier on the page than it looks on the screen, "Phil the Alien" reps a self-conscious feature debut from hyphenate comic Rob Stefaniuk, who stars as a space-borne shape-shifter who takes the form of a cliched Canuck after crash-landing in northern Ontario. Pic won't fly beyond the border.

With:
With: Rob Stefaniuk, Nicole deBoer, Joe Flaherty, Graham Greene, John Kapelos, Sean Cullen, Brad McGinnis, Bruce Hunter, Boyd Banks, Jason Jones, Dwayne Hill, Paul Popowich, Noam Rosen, Brad Hart, Addison Bell, Mary Crosbie, Mike Beaver.

The sort of Canadian comedy that sounds funnier on the page than it looks on the screen, “Phil the Alien” reps a self-conscious feature debut from hyphenate comic Rob Stefaniuk, who stars as a space-borne shape-shifter who takes the form of a cliched Canuck after crash-landing in northern Ontario. Pic won’t fly beyond the border, though it should make tube and homevid landings.

Fueled by the alcohol proffered first by a hunter’s son and then by the denizens of a local tavern run by the cynical Wolf (Graham Greene), Phil gets mixed up with a talking rodent (prompting the credit “Joe Flaherty as the beaver”) and the commander and henchmen of a top-secret UFO base under Niagara Falls, who sic a French Canadian hitwoman named Madame Madame (Nicole deBoer) on the hapless visitor. He later finds religion and fronts a Christian rock bar band. Story structure is too choppy to work up any comic momentum. Rubber-faced comedian Sean Cullen steals the film in his single scene as Madame Madame’s dinner companion. Tech credits are functional; print caught was grainy and dark.

Phil the Alien

Canada

Production: A Decade Distribution (in Canada) release of a Black Walk presentation of a Harilaid/Fleming production. (International sales: Black Walk, Toronto.) Produced by Mihkel Harilaid, Craig Fleming. Directed, written by Rob Stefaniuk.

Crew: Camera (color), D. Gregor Hagey; editors, Stefaniuk, Warren P. Sonoda; music, John Kastner; art directors, Rowena O'Connor, Jean Brophey; sound, Bissa Scekic. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Canada First!), Sept. 10, 2004. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: With: Rob Stefaniuk, Nicole deBoer, Joe Flaherty, Graham Greene, John Kapelos, Sean Cullen, Brad McGinnis, Bruce Hunter, Boyd Banks, Jason Jones, Dwayne Hill, Paul Popowich, Noam Rosen, Brad Hart, Addison Bell, Mary Crosbie, Mike Beaver.

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