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Mon ami

An unremarkable premise -- dim bulbs plot vengeance on employer, said plan goes awry -- is cleverly milked for maximum black-comedy payoff in "Mon ami."

With:
With: Mike Kovac, Scott Wallis, Bradley Duffy, John Fitzgerald, Len Harvey, P. Lynn Johnson, Bill Murdoch, Chelsey Reist, Justin Sproule, Teagan Vincze, Graham Wardle, Jesse Wheeler. (English dialogue)

An unremarkable premise — dim bulbs plot vengeance on employer, said plan goes awry — is cleverly milked for maximum black-comedy payoff in “Mon ami.” Rob Grant’s Canadian feature pulls off something that’s harder to do than it looks, namely the comedy of escalating disaster, in which each new mishap tops the last in bad-taste splatstick. Macabre without being mean-spirited, this crowdpleaser has been picking up awards on the genre fest circuit that should put it in good stead for home-format release.

Thirtyish hardware-store salesmen and best friends Cal (Scott Wallis) and Teddy (Mike Kovac) have been nursing a grudge since learning that their longtime boss plans to retire and turn over the store — not to them, but to his obnoxious yuppie sons. They decide to take revenge by kidnapping co-worker Crystal (Chelsey Reist), who’s also the boss’ s daughter and Cal’s crush object, holding her for a ransom that will compensate them for their years of unrewarded toil.

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But things rapidly spin out of control, and the hapless duo’s attempts to deal with each new crisis only triggers another — eventually creating a pileup of corpses extending well beyond any intended targets. Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, Teddy’s wife (a somewhat overamped Teagan Vincze) arrives to push the mayhem to a whole new level.

While reminiscent of other, similar exercises (“Fargo” being the deluxe inspirational model), Grant’s film arrives at its own distinctive mix of the deadpan and frenetic, combining a lunging editing style with occasional slo-mo passages and a usefully incongruous soundtrack of dignified classical themes. As the protags’ ill-fated friend Vince, Bradley Duffy is a standout in a cast that, for the most part, knows this kind of grisly humor is best played with a clueless poker face.

Production packaging is very modest but resourceful. Screener reviewed lacked final credits crawl.

Mon ami

Canada

Production: A True Hype production. (International sales: True Hype, Vancouver.) Produced by Scott Mainwood. Executive producers, Rob Grant, Mike Kovac, Mainwood, Scott Wallis, Mark Friebe, Sheila Sharma Friebe, Larry Kovac, Ruth Kovac, Joe Rizzuto, Doug Wallis, Susan Wallis. Directed, written by Rob Grant.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Michael Baier; editor, Rob Grant; production designer, Clayton Flagg; set decorator, Chanelle LeBlanc; costume designer, Ellie Schultz; sound, Michelle Zazulak; sound designer, Ian Robinson; assistant director, Ian Robinson. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, Nov. 24, 2012. (In Another Hole in the Head Film Festival.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Mike Kovac, Scott Wallis, Bradley Duffy, John Fitzgerald, Len Harvey, P. Lynn Johnson, Bill Murdoch, Chelsey Reist, Justin Sproule, Teagan Vincze, Graham Wardle, Jesse Wheeler. (English dialogue)

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