The Four Worst Canadian Comedies to Leak Across the Border
From a distance, Canada appears to be a land of comedy gods. SCTV. Schitt’s Creek. The Kids in the Hall. Trailer Park Boys. John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Catherine O’Hara, Norm Macdonald, Mike Myers, Seth Rogen, Ryan Reynolds, Will Arnett, Jim Carrey, Tom Green -- I could go on, but you get the idea. But just as Canada’s comedic counterparts in the U.S. of A are capable of churning out some awful comedies, funny Canucks have also demonstrated an ability to lay an egg from time to time. The worst of Canada’s comedy never makes it south, but some execrable laughers manage to slip past the border patrol and find their way into the United States -- to everyone’s dismay.
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore isn’t Canadian -- he was born just south in Michigan -- but his only narrative film is a comedy about strained U.S./Canadian relations. Shot in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ontario, Canadian Bacon is a satire about an American president (Alan Alda) who cooks up a fake conflict to boost his approval ratings. It’s also the last movie ever for Canadian comedy legend John Candy, who deserved better.
Even cameos by Canada’s finest -- Aykroyd, Michael J. Fox, Lorne Greene, Alex Trebek -- can’t save the day. “A dreadful waste of top talent,” said critic Nell Minow. “Dull characters and insipid scenarios,” griped Film Frenzy. “Let's leave the poking fun at Canadians to those who do it best - Canadians,” said Movie View.
An Awkward Sexual Adventure
This 2012 sex comedy, also known as the why-bother-changing-it My Awkward Sexual Adventure, barely got a release in Canada but it’s available now on just about every fourth-tier streaming service in America -- Tubi, Plex, the ROKU Channel, Pluto, Vudu and more. Maybe that’s because the female lead is Schitts’ Creek’s Emily Hampshire, teaching the nerdy hero how to live a life of sexual adventure by acting as his Sex Yoda.
Variety summed it up when it called An (My) Awkward Sexual Adventure “one white elephant of a Canadian romantic comedy — unimaginable as a remake, or playing anywhere outside latenight cable.”
Comedies don’t get much more Canadian than Going Beserk, directed by Winnipeg’s David Steinberg and starring some of the country’s finest funny guys -- Candy, Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty. All were SCTV veterans, but when a plot can be summed up as “clumsy chauffeur has misadventures,” you can be pretty sure you don’t have a comedy classic on your hands. A trivia tidbit on IMDb says “John Candy was supposed to write the script but never finished it,” which just might explain everything.
While The New York Times praised Candy, it called Going Berserk “an affably stupid comedy that's saddled with too much plot and that hasn't nearly enough energy to go with it.”
Tommy Wiseau’s The Room opened our eyes to a whole new kind of comedy -- the movie that’s so unintentionally bad that it’s outright hilarious. Vice says Ryan’s Babe is the Great White North’s answer to The Room, “a film wild, puzzling, and funny enough to claim Canada’s so-bad-it’s-good throne.”
Terrible but still possibly the best road-comedy-thriller ever filmed in Saskatoon, Ryan’s Babe is a favorite among bad-movie enthusiasts. It sets up as a typical man-on-the-run picture, but soon devolves into an entertaining mess with what Vice calls a “series of ‘plot’ points so illogical that the rules of storytelling are stretched as wide as Goatse’s butthole.”
Ryan’s Babe rises to all-time terrible (or classic) status based on the complete cluelessness of its makers. “For one to achieve so-bad-it’s-good status,” Vice says, “it takes a blind incompetency that’s as rare as genius.”