Friday, August 01, 2008

The Guatemalan Handshake

Todd Rohal | 2006 | 96 min | US

The Guatemalan Handshake suffers from a fatal case of Burger Phone Syndrome in which the director wrongly presumes that merely having unusual items on screen is the same as writing actual jokes. It is not. Rohal's feature debut is another movie that is so in love with how cute and quirky it is that the development of the story and characters quickly take a back seat in favour of showing them doing supposedly amusing/weird things.

It is a shame. The opening scenes of Handshake are inventive and beautiful, then totally forgotten. What seems to be the introduction of a plot is only the set up for kookiness. Around ninety minutes of the aggravating business follows. In that time we learn about a roller rink employee who is lactose intolerant, a couple of delinquent boy scouts, an elderly woman looking for her dead dog, a pregnant woman who's estranged father angrily coaches a host of future gymnasts, a ten-year-old girl, and a bunch of other losers. All of their paths wonderfully converge one magical day at a demolition derby. All of their names are Mr. Turnupseed or Ethel Firecracker or Spank Williams or Turkeylegs. Fuck that.

Even the trailer is wacky.


katarina said...

Know what I like about your reviews? Even when I think potentially I might like a film that you disliked, reading your review of it makes me feel like "fuck that".

I'm not saying that to get you on my side about ragtag groups of misfits, though.

aaron said...

i watch the Junos so you don't have to.

Joel Bocko said...

Well, it sounds like you finished it, which is more than I can say.

aaron said...

I'm not gonna lie: I was very tempted to leave about thirty minutes in, but I kept thinking to myself, "I have to stay to the end because I want to beat the shit out of this movie from an informed position."