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Servitude (2011)

by on 2013/04/09

Servitude (2011)

“Dirty potato!”

* * *

It appears I jotted down relatively little during Servitude. In fact, I don’t remember ever pausing it to get a quotation right. That’s rare.

It’s not that I was enraptured . . . more occupied in a trifling sense, and very little worth noting jumped out at me.

Now if I really reach back, I imagine I wasn’t especially impressed at first, with the cast of immature schlubs interacting almost exclusively through violence, insults, farting, and bodily fluids.

The players in question (barely) work at a Montana’s-style restaurant. Unfortunately, they are shortly to be overhauled by their German parent company, and a strict inspector is keeping them all on their toes. Meanwhile, the protagonist is planning to quit anyway, and spends his last night inciting the workers to shenanigans as their manager is out, drunk and unconscious.

Vaguely distracting amusement ensues, though it ends better than it begins.

Nothing here needed to make much sense, so I found my mind wandering. I wondered if the waitress Barb was the woman from Steve Smith’s Comedy Mill. (Yes, Linda Kash.) I suspected Kristen Hager was brought in as a non-Canadian “ringer”. (Actually, she is Canadian.) I worried Lauren Collins (Degrassi Goes Hollywood) might tire of playing disliked characters. (I honestly don’t know.)

Between the vague amusement and north-star-spotting, I had a good enough time. Jayne Eastwood (2004’s Dawn of the Dead) and the late Wayne Robson (in whose memory the movie is dedicated) play a difficult elderly couple. Aaron Ashmore (Smallville and Treed Murray) plays against type as a detestable scumbag. Margot Kidder (Superman) plays a stunningly, er, “altered” cougar.

And Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall and The Wrong Guy) steals every single moment he’s on-screen.

But, you know, by the end, I was captured by its minor dramatic tendrils. Our hero is secretly blogging. He and his father have issues about schooling. He’s pressured to leave with a girl whose faults are obvious to all but him. These elements weren’t strictly necessary, but helped to flesh out the world a bit.

Make no mistake, it’s all just modest entertainment, with a simple, straightforward experience beneath its playground naughtiness. Familiar, imperfect, oh-kay . . . pretty much like a meal at the sort of place where Servitude’s action is set.

* * *

Rated 14A

85 minutes

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