(TORONTO, ON) – Just when everything has gone to shit in a film, or real life, it can end up in a disaster or a revelation which redeems its sufferers. In Humor Me, life has suddenly turned sideways for Nate (Jemaine Clement) when his play is rejected for production and his wife leaves him, taking his son Gabe to live with French billionaire Henri.
The only option open to Nate is to move in with his father in a senior’s residence.
His dad, Bob, is a comedian at heart who relies on comedy to communicate. Nate is devastated by his marriage break-up, but somehow gets involved with The Cranberry Bog Players at the senior’s home to produce Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado.
Nate finds himself producing the play and settles down. There are many ribald moments, but also some serious ones as Bob has a heart attack and Nate and his brother finally reconnect after years of estrangement. Nate as well re-establishes his relationship with Bob while befriending a cocaine and vodka musician, who is serving probation at the residence.
This is not a tremendous film, but a light-hearted view of how the apparent dissolution of a family through possible death can often result in a cementing of relationships.
As a result of the heart attack, the family is drawn together and unified, although these events can easily render apart a family. In my own case with the death of my mother, there was a 2/3 unification. The 1/3 remains bitter and suspicious and, at last account, somewhere near Edmonton.
Elliot Gould as Bob is delightful, sincere, and confused. Otherwise the casting is solid.
An oddball film and that has a delightful, off-centre soundtrack.
(Humor Me, USA 2017, director Sam Hoffman, 93 minutes, part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, screening May 8 and 10)