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Review: Being Canadian

May 8, 2015

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Being Canadian PosterAfter moving to the United States and working as a sitcom writer, Rob Cohen returns to his native land of Canada after two decades, taking a road trip from Nova Scotia to Vancouver, and interviewing various Canadians in attempts to shine a light on what gives our country its cultural identity.

Although there is validity to this idea, and brief appearances from countless celebrities like Seth Rogen and Eugene Levy will ensure Being Canadian finds an audience, it’s just too bad that our country isn’t being represented by a better film.  After playing at Hot Docs, the comedic documentary opens at the Carlton this weekend.

It’s hard to imagine anyone outside of Canada watching this largely disappointing film, and there aren’t really any new insights to be gained here for those of us living in the country, besides just reiterating and maybe even justifying many of the stereotypes about our good manners and mediocre TV shows.

Although advocating for more education of our history, the film seems completely disinterested in mentioning any of the darker elements that brought our country into being, and any signs of our diverse multiculturalism are almost completely ignored.  Any truly interesting moments are overshadowed by the tiring amount of silly antics on display, and even the Canada Day deadline that drives the narrative feels fake, because some of the footage makes it clear that this journey took longer than nine days to complete.

There are a few worthwhile and entertaining scenes courtesy of the numerous celebrity guests, who do their best to give genuine answers, but many of them unfortunately get lost in the mismatched shuffle.  To offer an appropriately polite critique of Being Canadian, this is essentially just the homegrown version of corny Americana.  It’s completely harmless, and there is no doubt an audience that will enjoy it, but I don’t think anyone was really asking for that.

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