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Real Time (2008)

by on 2013/07/15

“You still have a few more minutes, Andy.”

* * * *

Real_Time_2008I am a little ashamed to admit that it took This Is the End to kick off a serious fondness, bordering on quiet obsession, with the work of Jay Baruchel.

By all (good Canadian) rights, it should have happened sooner with this our Ottawa-born, Montreal-raised Canadian son. His performance in a movie I adore called Fetching Cody alone was worth it. And he’s been in some bloody great films like Million Dollar Baby.

But I didn’t get seriously, seriously seeking until his performance as an awful, conflicted version of himself in This is the End. My favourite teenager Miss_Tree’s serendipitous selection of Real Time on Netflix simply capped the whole thing.

Starring Jay Baruchel and Randy Quaid (Brokeback Mountain), this movie is based on a deceptively simple story. You could almost describe the entire film as an interior drama, if you can count the front seat of a nondescript sedan as an interior.

It explores the question: What would you do if you found out you only had an hour and 19-ish minutes to live? It is explored in the ‘as advertised’ real time. The answer is surprising, and surprisingly entertaining. So much so, that I almost don’t want to tell you one little thing about what happens.

Baruchel plays Andy, a compulsive gambler who mutters to himself, swears constantly, twitches and chain smokes when he isn’t borrowing money from family and insecure loan-sharks.

Randy Quaid is your friendly neighbourhood hit man, Reuban, come to put a bullet, once and for all, into the welching Andy. With a roving Austrialian-British-Irish brogue, Quaid gives twitching and initially completely unsympathetic Andy the opportunity to take a last look around and kick some Bucket list items off his list before he takes a dirt nap.

Andy’s early choices aren’t particularly edifying. He wants to see a hooker naked, yell at his old fast food manager, grab a pack of smokes and urinate.

Mostly, Andy wants to whine about his bad luck. “I have two kinds of luck, bad luck and fucking shit luck.”

While I wasn’t sure I liked the character of Andy at the start one little bit, Baruchel carried the entire film on his charming, fascinating face. I was reminded by a quote attributed to Hitchcock about Martin Landeau’s acting abilities and fascinating brain, “I know you’ve got a carnival in there, Marty.”

You could see the carnival at work in Jay Baruchel’s brain. In this movie, Baruchel’s carnival had a lot of pogo stands, angry carnies and Tilt-A-Whirls.

Beyond Baruchel’s great performance , there’s a bonus for CanCon-nies like Hacker Renders and I – a matriarch of Canadian film and television Jayne Eastwood (Lost Girl) who also turns great performance as Andy’s long-suffering, chain-smoking grandmother.

An interesting story, told on the great Jay Baruchel’s face, what more could you want from a month-long celebration of Canadian talent? Overall, it was well worth every moment spent in real time with Baruchel, Quaid and Eastwood.

* * * *

90 minutes

Rated R for bad language and sexual references

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