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Sidekick (2005)

by on 2013/05/04

Sidekick (2005)

“It was all just a game of inches.”

* *

Long before the video game Dishonored, I came up with what I believed was a novel power, that of “blinking”. I was probably inspired by X-Men’s Nightcrawler, but my teleport-ability would be used to catch buses.

Banal, yes. No wonder “Everything You Know Is Wrong” is a favourite Al Yankovic song:

“As a way of saying thank you, they [aliens] offered to transport me back to any point in history that I would care to go. And so I had them send me back to last Thursday night so I could pay my phone bill on time.”

Sidekick shares that vibe, occupying the quirky side of a subset of the superhero genre in which the filmmakers explore what might happen if such powers existed in the “real” world. This group is typified by Unbreakable, Hancock, and Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. And as my examples suggest, it’s a jumble of mixed results.

First, and most significantly, it’s less convincing as a real world than it is as one populated by flawed characters, the most sympathetic of whom is taken out midway through. Unless you love dystopias populated by tragic figures, you’ll probably want to save yourself and avoid it.

We follow a painfully shy geek, Norman (Perry Mucci), working a day job with computers, and moonlighting at Excalibur Comics with Chuck (Daniel Baldwin of Vampires). One day, he discovers a co-worker, Victor (David Ingram), possesses super-speed or telekinesis, and offers to train this hard-of-thinker up.

Victor’s not especially interested in becoming a hero, though. He’d rather use his powers in for sports, profit, pranking, and getting laid. He’s unremittingly selfish, uncompassionate, with no significant arc. As if that lack of progress weren’t enough to waste our time, the movie ends on a cliffhanger which may never be resolved.

Mind you, it would be more frustrating if I actually longed for a sequel.

I’d like to mention that this disc was the first thing I watched after balancing my TV settings. My first reaction was, “Oh boy, I must have botched it.” But no, the picture is just really, really poor. The non-anamorphic transfer features a drab picture rife with visual noise and some gate hairs. The location sound is often too low, or muted, or echoing. It needed to be redubbed in post-production. And once you get past the technical issues, the writing is amateurish, often poorly acted, and, exemplified by this selection:

“For you it’s a game. For me? I don’t have a dick, so I’m not welcome in your goddamn club. The only chance I have is to find someone else’s and use it to pick the lock.”

On one hand I thought, “It’s like Spider-Man combined with Unbreakable”. On the other, I was mostly reminded of two other Canadian misfires: Leaving Metropolis and Six Reasons Why. Combine the production values of the former with the failed ambition of the latter, and you get a bit of a sense of the Sidekick vibe.

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of potential here, which you may not discern through the distracting haze of low-budget shortfalls. Interesting ideas, poorly executed, functioning at the level of a college project. Sidekick is another of those efforts I sought to justify grading up, but it’s far too flawed a gem to recommend.

* *

Rated 14A

87 minutes

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  1. A Geek’s Month in Review: May 2013 | Geek vs Goth

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