This evening, the Canadian FilmFest presents a screening of the highly enjoyable, Mr. Viral at the Royal Theatre. The film follows the antics of a group of folks in an ad agency… whose exterior is right where we work!
At the center of the story is Simon (Jefferson Brown), a rather disillusioned ad man, now ad producer, who is seeing over a couple of go-nowhere accounts, one is a children’s toy called Bunnybeads, the other is for an adult diaper line. But it’s all about finding your market right?
And that’s what Simon does, after hours, he decides to try something different, and makes a video repositioning the Bunny Beads as an adult toy, without informing anyone else and then watches as the sales and the internet come alive! Then he tackles the diapers…
Weaving through this are two other stories, one featuring Stacy (Alex Appel), one of the creative assistants, who is afraid her actress wife, Rachel (Carinne Leduc) is cheating, and decides to pay people to get her proof.
And then there’s Bruce (Michael Ripley), a 40-something, working in the office who is surfing the dating sites and looking not only for love and lust. And ends up getting more than he bargained for.
All of these stories interweave, being alternately hilarious, shocking, troubling, and serve as a commentary not only on advertising, but on the culture that is advertised to.
Brown pulls off the aloof, cynical, seen-it-all-before Simon with ease, and the character really comes to life when he realizes how he can twist things to a more adult theme, letting the creative team of Andy (Christian Lloyd) and Mike (Danny Waugh) believe they are the cause of all the success.
Behind all of this, there is the mysterious Mr. V, who is he? And what is he really up to?
The film looks glossy and slick, like a new magazine on an advertiser’s desk, the big T.O. looks fantastic, my place of employment looks really cool (it never looks that cool when I’m there – just saying), and there are a lot of laughs.
It’s a difficult thing to walk between drama, comedy and thriller, but this one seems to do it with ease, though it tends to lean more towards the comedy aspect.
If you’re of an open mind, aren’t afraid of adult-themed material, and are ready for a laugh or two, as well some thoughtful commentary on society, the way we live, and how we’re pandered to… wander over to the Royal Theatre tonight and have a look at this dark gem of Canadian film, which is closing out the festival.