Waydowntown (2000)

(On TV, August 2007) Low-budget Canadian comedy alert! Run for cover! Naah, I kid: though it can be laborious at times, incoherent at others and just plain disappointing at the finish, there’s a lot to like in Waydowntown. As a study of four young people stuck in a silly bet to see who can last the longest without going outside (thanks to an effective use of Calgary’s +15 system of passageways), the film is never quite as formulaic than you’d think. And it wisely doesn’t limit itself to that single premise: other obstacles keep up our attention, including a mystery object of attraction, impending adultery, a kleptomaniac retiree and a suicidal colleague. But if you’re hoping that this will eventually result in a crescendo of laughs and sudden meaning, well, you may be disappointed: The ending sort of peters out without much of a point (because really, if “alienation from your cubicle job” is the best you can do…), leaving us without a proper send-off. A disappointment, especially given how the film generally works until that point.

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