Featured DVD Review: No Clue
No Clue is a Canadian movie written by and starring Brent Butt, who also created and starred in Corner Gas. Corner Gas was one of the most popular Canadian Sitcoms around during its run (and has spawned a movie that is in the works), so there was a lot of buzz regarding this film, more than most Canadian movies manage. Could it live up to the buzz? Or does Brent Butt's sense of humor work better on TV?
The film begins with the camera following Kyra walking through the city. She steps into a building, looks up the office number for Empire Private Investigation, before heading to their office. There she meets Leo Falloon, who is a bit of a bumbling fool for a private eye. Kyra is worried about her brother, who has gone missing and she fears might be dead. He had been acting weird and the last time they talked over the phone all he did was whisper "I love you, sis." She doesn't want to go to the police if she doesn't have to, which is why she's going to a private eye instead.
However, as we learn when we see Leo and his brother, Ernie, talk during lunch, Leo isn't a private eye. He runs Boffo Specialty Advertising in the office next door. As Leo tells his brother, he decided to help her because the real private eye is out of town for a couple of weeks, that and she's gorgeous. He promises Ernie he will tell her the truth that night when they meet. He tries to, but the second she mentions paying him $500 a day, that plan goes out the door. He still has no idea what he's doing, but for that amount of money, he's going to try.
Kyra tells Leo a bit about her brother, Miles Severin. He's a computer game developer for a gaming company called Glasskey and was the lead designer on a massive $200 million hit, Curseworld. She also gives him Miles' address and asks Leo to check out his place that night, which he does, at least for a little while. He sees the patio door is open and the place is trashed and there appears to be blood on the floor. As soon as he sees the blood, he panics and leaves meeting with Kyra in her sleazy motel room.
The next day, Leo goes to talk to Ernie, because Ernie's big into gamimg and might have some knowledge and he does. Turns out V5 made Curseworld, not Glasskey. With this knowledge, Leo heads to V5 and first talks to Miles' old boss, Nelson, and learns Miles was the lead designer, but left a while ago. He claims it was a amicable departure, but one of the junior programmers, Danny, tells Leo that Miles and Nelson really don't like each other. Miles didn't think he got the money he deserved for making Curseworld, so he left to found Glasskey, which is bound to take a chunk of V5's profits.
When Leo goes to Glasskey, he gets there in the middle of an investors gathering and tries to blend in. It doesn't work and the boss, Horn, kicks him out almost immediately. Fortunately for Leo, Reese, Horn's daughter, sees him getting tossed out and Reese and Horn have been fighting (she was apparently interested in Miles, but her father forbid their relationship) so she invites him back in as a guest to get back at him. This does give him a chance to sneak a peak at Horn's office, plus he sees Church, Horn's assistant, return and tell Horn that Miles is missing. When Leo mentions the blood, it pretty much kills the shareholders' meeting.
Leo heads back to the office to call Kyra to ask her to meet at a restaurant to go over the case... or on a date, it's hard to tell. Meanwhile, Church follows Leo and when he sees what floor Leo went to, he makes the same mistake Kyra made. Then when he follows Leo to the restaurant, he confronts Kyra and... spoilers happen.
Your enjoyment of No Clue will depend a lot on your enjoyment of Brent Butt's sense of humor, while liking Film Noir will certainly help. The film does an excellent job playing the various Film Noir tropes in a comedic way. Brent Butt gives Leo a bit of charm, but plays him mostly as a self-deprecating schlub, who is willing to talk tough, but only after the person he is talking to is walking away and hopefully out of earshot. The mystery that is at the center of the plot is a solid one and includes a lot of the necessary elements you need, including the damsel in distress and the femme fatale, as well as a boatload of potential suspects. It follows the usual path these movies take, but does enough new with it that it stands out. The most obvious being Leo Falloon not being a hardboiled private eye, but just an average guy. Or perhaps more accurately, a below average guy. There are more changes than that, but that's where we hit the spoiler territory above.
Granted, No Clue isn't an award-worthy movie and does at times feel like an extended pilot to a TV show, but there are more than enough laughs to be worth watching and if you are a fan of Brent Butt's work, then you will likely enjoy it enough to watch it more than once.
Extras include an audio commentary track with Brent Butt and the director, Carl Bessai. Plus there's an eleven-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. That's better than I was expecting for a Canadian movie.
No Clue is a very funny Film Noir comedy that has enough jokes to be a success as a comedy, but it also has a solid mystery and works as Film Noir. Add in the extras on the DVD and it is definitely worth picking up.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-06-30