By Stacey Gillard
I saw two movies this weekend: one, an international blockbuster garnering all sorts of Oscar buzz; the other, a Canadian romantic comedy. While I knew I would enjoy both, the last thing I expected was to come away feeling slightly disappointed in Gravity and not being able to stop talking about The Right Kind Of Wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, Gravity wasn’t awful. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney were, obviously, magnificent. The visual effects were stunning, the cinematography was world class and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I suppose my disappointment stemmed from the multitude of rave reviews I’ve read and the fact I had gone into it expecting a lot more. Scientific inaccuracies aside (I tend to start getting nit-picky when a movie isn’t up to the standard I was anticipating), I was hoping for something a little less clichéd. That being said, I know romantic comedies are always full of clichés – it’s expected from them, and while The Right Kind of Wrong had a reasonably predictable path, it wound around itself with enough twists that it left the audience doubting our assumptions of where it would end up.
Leo Palomino (Ryan Kwanten – True Blood) is a failed author and his wife, Julie (Kristen Hager – Being Human) writes a blog about how much he sucks…called Why You Suck. After she leaves him, her blog (and the subsequent book) becomes a national sensation and Leo is suddenly faced with strangers knowing his every fault. At the depths of his depression he runs into Collette (Sara Canning – Vampire Diaries) at her wedding to a highly successful lawyer and realizes she is the person he needs to be with. Leo’s pursuit of Collette becomes an obsession, one that her husband and his preppy friends decide must be stopped at all costs.
Canning’s Collette is a strong character. An environmental activist who runs tours highlighting the rape of the natural world, her free spirit and impulsive nature have combined to compel her to a quick wedding after a whirlwind romance to Danny who seems perfect on the surface but who gradually reveals his true colors. The assumptions she makes about Leo are based largely on her annoyance at his crashing her wedding and the skewed “facts” from Julie’s book and as he gradually shows her who he truly is, she is reluctant to accept how mistaken she has been.
Kwanten brings us a terribly flawed but infinitely lovable heartbroken man in Leo. His insistence that his editor and best friend, Neil (brilliantly portrayed by Will Sasso) not change a thing about his book was the cause of its demise but also gives us an insight into his stubborn nature, the exact character trait that causes him to not give up on his obsession with Collette. While I would normally balk a little at someone’s pursuit of a married woman, the fact that Leo can see exactly who Collette really is helps us as the audience see just how wrong Danny is for her. Kwanten also shows his comedy chops at every turn – a particularly favorite scene of mine was as Leo tried to prove he could overcome his fear of heights and ended up in the fetal position half way up a slight slope!
The chemistry between Kwanten and Canning is palpable from the get-go, a heat emanating from their scenes with seemingly little effort. The supporting cast is small but stellar. Catherine O’Hara as Collette’s wanderlust mother rooting for Leo illuminates the screen every time she appears. Mateen Devji and Maya Samy play Ravi and Pia, the genius children of Leo’s friend Mandeep who have an ability to see right through Leo and force him to open up about how he feels about Collette. Leo’s ridiculously cute white Persian, Balls (his mate, Snow, was taken by Julie in the divorce), is a constant companion during Leo’s despair and is a great listener as Leo pours his heart out.
Throughout the movie there is a great balance between emotional performances and slapstick comedy, with a small amount of nudity thrown in for good measure. The stunning backdrop of Canmore, Alberta, and the dry humor reminds the audience that this is a Canadian movie through and through. The strong characters and less than typical storyline make this an incredibly enjoyable romp that will have you simultaneously laughing and cringing (Leo spends much of the movie battered and bruised) and it’s definitely one I’ll be re-watching many times.
Go and see Gravity. It’s going to be an important movie when it comes to Oscar season and its uniqueness should be experienced on the big screen. But for a feel-good 97 minutes that will leave you smiling and with an intense desire to visit Banff National Park, The Right Kind of Wrong is all kinds of right.