Canadian Bacon

Canadian Bacon (2005)

Moore film shows differences between Canada, U.S.

London, Ontario recently played host to the North American premiere of Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, a film that puts the healthcare industry under the microscope. London was chosen as the host because several key scenes were filmed here highlighting the differences in medical care between our country, and our neighbours to the south.

Canadian Bacon cover artThis week I will be reviewing the new film from Michael Moore that examines the unique relationship that exists between Canada and the United States.

In the 1995 film Canadian Bacon, John Candy stars as….wait a second, I just realized something. The headline and the opening few paragraphs may have led some to the conclusion that I would be reviewing Sicko. Perhaps my use of the term “new film” didn’t help. I meant new in the comparative sense. It’s newer than Gone With the Wind or the original King Kong. My sincerest apologies for any confusion.

In Canadian Bacon, the president of the United States (Alan Alda of “MASH”) sees his popularity is plunging to George W. Bush-like levels. Several of his advisors come up with a brilliant strategy to distract voters from issues going on within their own country – starting a war with another country.

The only problem is that there are no obvious targets for this proposed war. The Cold War with Russia had been over for nearly a decade. Iraq had handily been defeated years earlier. Sweden was still years away from being a threat (mark my words – that day is coming).

So they decide to target Canada, and utilize the media to portray Canadians as a legitimate threat to the citizens of the United States. What the President wasn’t counting on was the resolve of us Canadians, who are sick of playing second fiddle to the Yankees.

John Candy (Uncle Buck, “SCTV”) and Rhea Pearlman (“Cheers”) play two officers in Niagara Falls, Ontario who lead the efforts to secure our borders. This prompts the U.S. president to warn, “Surrender pronto, or we’ll level Toronto!”

Candy is as always terrific in this film. He is the consummate actor’s actor. I am so sick of hearing the story of how Robert De Niro put on 60 pounds for his “legendary performance” (note the sarcasm) in the film Raging Bull. Candy was known to gain upwards of 250 pounds for some roles, and then lose it all weeks after filming ended, only to have to gain it back for his next film. What a pro. In an unrelated note, Candy died of a massive heart attack.

Also making appearances in the film are James Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Rip Torn and even Michael Moore himself. Moore plays a redneck who states, “It’s time we put the American back in North America!”

While Michael Moore’s career as a documentary director is certainly more heralded, he showed with this outing that he is also a skilled director of screwball comedies. The film was so well received that he was tabbed to direct the sequel to Three Men and a Baby and Three Men and a Little Lady titled Three Men and a Teenage Girl. Unfortunately production never got underway, as the studio was worried the film would be confused with an adult film of the same name, particularly since both films starred Steve Guttenberg. So Moore made Bowling For Columbine instead.

Whether you view this film as a biting expose into the use of media manipulation by politicians to further their own agenda, or simply a light hearted John Candy comedy, I guarantee you will be satisfied. Canadian Bacon is available at your local butcher or video retailer.

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