I will begin this review by asking this: is there a greater tragedy in cinema than an unfunny comedy? After today, I certainly don’t think so.
I am appalled. I had a hint of fear as I was quickly getting ready for the screening of Wake. this afternoon. I wondered to myself “If this is bad I’m gonna be pissed that I put this much effort into getting ready so quickly.” After sitting through the worst film I have ever seen at HIFF, I don’t even think I have the energy to be angry. Maybe that was strategic on the part of the programmers for this year’s festival. Perhaps they expected that, since it was the last day of the festival, that they saved themselves from a critical reaming. Maybe they thought that all of the critics would be too tired to put any effort into a scathing piece on one of the festival’s last screenings. I know I’m tired as hell after ten days of continuous screenings. Nevertheless, I tend to persist in my takedown of this cinematic drivel.
Let’s start with the positives. Perhaps we’ll make this review a shit sandwich. Shit on both ends, and something mildly pleasant in the middle. Anyway, the acting by the actress who played Molly, although she looks like a 99 cent version of Kristin Wiig (or Vera Farmiga, I can’t decide), was competent. So were the performances of Joe and Frank. These three were also the only actors to make me… not laugh, but breathe out of my nostril slightly faster than usual. That’s about where the serviceable performances end. Coincidentally, that’s also where my overall positives end for Wake. Back to the pseudo-intelligent schlock that is this sad excuse for a film.
The writing is Room-level bad. Unlike Tommy Wiseau’s proverbial trophy wife, however, watching this film is not fun because it’s “so bad it’s good.” This film is only the first half of that sought-after monicker of B-grade cinema. It’s a slog to get through, no thanks to the absolutely horrendous writing, introducing and resolving conflicts like they’re going out of style. So many different characters have their own personal stories to be told that the film is as unfocused as the camera’s used to film this feature-length abortion. The fact that this… thing took up valuable space at a sought-after venue for local filmmakers is a complete and utter travesty. Do not watch this film. At all costs, avoid Wake.