Canada’s perception by the rest of the world is broken down in Being Canadian. Born in Calgary, Robert Cohen moved to Los Angeles to pursue a comedy writing career. When his co-workers found out about his heritage, he found that they knew little about Canada, other than the stereotypes of beer, maple syrup, and hockey. Rob decides to hop into a white minivan and go on a cross-country road trip, from Nova Scotia to Vancouver, with the hopes of finding a definitive answer to what it means to be a Canadian.
Being Canadian is film by a Canadian-born writer of TV sitcoms, such as The Big Bang Theory and According to Jim, trying to find out what it means to be Canadian, even though Robert Cohen hasn’t lived in the country for more than two decades. Rob’s search for this answer involves surveying a number of well-known figures, including Canadians Dan Aykroyd, the band Rush, and Martin Short and non-Canadians Ben Stiller and Kathy Griffin. There is a very light-hearted tone to the film, with opening credits mimicking Superman and a number of very goofy staged moments, such as Mounties riding to Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” or visions of Wayne Gretzky giving sage advice.
Being Canadian is a film that I wanted to like, but as the film meticulously breaks down everything negative about being a Canadian, including its second place status to the US, it really started to make me feel bad. Also, the film features some dated interviews, particularly the Barenaked Ladies, who still feature Steven Page, even though he left the band in 2009. Ultimately, the film does come to a somewhat upbeat conclusion, even though it’s pointless and something that most Canadians should already know. While completely harmless, Being Canadian is not a film I can fully recommend.
★ ★ ★ | WATCHABLE
- Sat Apr 25, 9:45 PM – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
- Sun Apr 26, 3:00 PM – Hart House Theatre