by David Nusair in September 2004|
Wilby Wonderful follows in the footsteps of films like Short Cuts and Magnolia - particularly the latter - as it features a wide cast of lonely, miserable people. Writer/director Daniel MacIvor does a wonderful job of establishing this small town - called, coincidentally enough, Wilby - to the extent that we feel like we know the place by the time the movie's over. The cast is uniformly superb, but Paul Gross especially deserves kudos for playing way against type as a scruffy and nondescript cop who's just trying to do the right thing. And as expected with a movie of this ilk, there are certain characters that are far more intriguing than others (ie Sandra Oh's Carol never quite becomes much more than an twitchy annoyance, despite Oh's surprisingly effective performance). MacIvor proves to be a much more effective screenwriter than director, though his low-key style quickly proves to be an ideal match for the material. In the end, Wilby Wonderful is an engaging - though not entirely memorable - look at small town life.
Rating: 3 out of 4