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This is a collection of comic satires directed at American values. It should not be offensive to either Canadians or Americans, unless they have either really thin skin or are completely missing the point. People are surprised now (years after it was made) that this is a Michael Moore film. He should do more of these stories rather than his documentaries, because people can follow his stories better than his disjointed, rambling documentaries. Viewers who are offended by this are missing the picture; it's a looks at America's anxieties and obsessions, American politics, and it has some great comedic lines and characters. Steven Wright, Dan Aykroyd, and other comedians make cameos.
I don't usually write reviews, but I feel compelled. Just read through the
user comments on Canadian Bacon here and I'm chuckleing. Not only is this
movie subtly hilarious, its nearly perfect as so many people are only
contributing to the joke.
I recall sitting in a hostel in Switzerland on a trip across Europe, and listening to two American guys drinking and talking to two Austrailians. They were telling them about this hilarious movie called Canadian Bacon that did such a great job of making fun of how stupid and dumb Canadians are.
Which only makes the movie better, because it is so obviously, once you are in the know, a satire of America and particularly it's arrogant/ignorant (take your pick) stereotypes of Canada.
Truly, with every scathing review stating "This movie is a waste of time as it makes obvious stabs at Canada. That country should be insulted and the joke gets old." No, the joke only gets better with every American reviewer who doesn't get it, pushing it that much closer to a truly inspired masterpiece.
While it had some flaws, mostly in some incomplete development of
themes and failing to make full use of the story's potential, this is a
brilliantly funny satire that mostly succeeds wonderfully on many
The idea to have the US pick on Canada, internationally one of the world's least offensive and bellicose countries is itself brilliant. It wonderfully picks on the US, and more generally, on any rather belligerent nation that likes to throw its weight around and create excuses for doing so.
It also picks on the use of propaganda and even on mass media and mass mob hysteria. This is especially true in the way the film portrays how the American media discusses Canada and how some members of the public react, so that the whole idea spins out of control of those who began it for their own personal reasons. I was barely able to breath with laughter throughout the whole period when the US was flashing its propaganda about Canada and showing how threatening they are, especially how they claimed the Canadians were "infiltrating" American society and were "massing" on the border. This is wonderful satire on sensationalist news stations and their willingness to use information in a wildly inaccurate and misleading manner in order to rile people up.
The film picks on everyone involved, Canadian and American alike. It attacks the stereotypes of both, highlighting their differences yet also attacking the misconceptions about both peoples. To have a number of Canadians in the film is another flash of inspiration, too, since there are Canadians playing comically stereotypical (i.e., polite, white bread, well-spoken) Canadians and Canadians playing comically stereotypical (i.e., redneck, belligerent, crude) Americans. It adds to the irony since one of the American's propaganda tools is that there are Canadian actors everywhere in the US as such integral parts of the American entertainment industry that they are taken for Americans, and lo and behold, here some are playing various people in this film.
Some parts of the film were simply silly, with jokes that were more gags rather than actually furthering the satire and points of the movie, and this is a weak spot. While some were funny and worked, others were a bit inane and the film would have been more successful had they stuck to developing the real themes and satire of the film, which are what make it great.
Anyway, despite some weak points, this film is a brilliant satire that contains a number of parts that are utterly hilarious. It did not fulfill its full potential, but it is not too far below perfect and the good parts are really, really good.
As a person who has spent half his life on each side of the 49th parallel, I was delightfully impressed with this movie. There were countless cultural statements and innuendos that were absolutely hilarious. I can certainly see how someone unfamiliar with Canadian tradition and culture might not 'get' this movie. However, if you've lived in, visited, or known someone from Canada, this movie will provide non-stop laughs. Canada was certainly slapped in the face a number of times, but the balance was fair, with the Canadians scoring a number of blows against the Americans. Definitely worth the watch if you've got ties to Canada, otherwise it may seem silly and pointless.
As a Canadian, I laughed my head off for the first 2/3 of this movie
and after that I stopped but only because it started to fall apart NOT
because any material in it was offensive. The jabs at BOTH countries
was excellent. I also live near the Falls and got a blast out of the
"plungers" into the river. Funniest parts: -Jim Belushi announcing that
Canada has massed 90% of its population along the border in obvious
preparation for an attack. -Boomer and Honey and everyone insulting
Canadian beer at a hockey game and causing a riot. -Stephen Wright as
an RCMP officer in parade dress getting punched and stating, "That was
totally unnecessary." -argument about Toronto or Ottawa being the
capital of Canada -the deployment of Omega Force in spite of Rip Torn's
mentioning of its strict prohibition against Caucasians according to
the Helms Amendment -the "Summit Thingy" between Alan Alda and the
Russians and their obsession with MTV and "what's that other one?
VH-1!" -the "Canada Desk" at the CIA.
Also, at the hospital, Honey getting a get-well card from Gordon Lightfoot and looking out the window, seeing a blizzard and dog-sleds and muttering, "Ottawa." under her breath. Moore SCORES!!! ALL the clichés and satires are perfect on both sides of the border.
I remember hearing poor reviews from Siskel and Ebert for this film
when it came out. And I see what they meant, as I watch it today. It's
not as snappy as it could have been, but there are some extremely funny
lines. And it's especially timely to see the news anchors and
"journalists" jumping on the hate-Canada bandwagon, because they still
do that today, and seeing how ridiculous the arguments are against
Canada makes one think about the dubious arguments made against other
countries by our "journalists."
Kevin Pollack is really funny, as is John Candy. Rhea Pearlman is overly "quirky," in my view, but otherwise, I think it really rings true today. It's worth a rental!
First of all I'd like to correct those who have claimed this film was
written by a Canadian. Michael Moore wrote, produced and directed this
film and he was born in Flint, Michigan. In fact his much acclaimed
earlier film Roger & Me was all about his hometown and its unfortunate
With that out of the way I'd like to say that Michael Moore did a wonderful job capturing the humour in the quirky traits and differences that separate Canadians and Americans whether that be Canada's pride for hockey and their beer or America's ignorance of Canada as a whole. The film is filled with funny little political hints and satire of the typical Moore fashion that helped make his last film Bowling For Columbine the best selling documentary of all time.
This movie is not a documentary but rather a witty story that brings forth the same concept of a president creating a fake conflict to boost poll ratings that Wagging The Dog was to later use more seriously.
Some of the comments made in this film show eerie foreshadowing to what has happened in the world since it was produced.
No matter what your motivation for watching this film you can expect to get the same formula of political commentary delivered with wit and humour that you get in all of Michael Moore's Films, TV Shows, and novels.
This is not one of Candy's best movies,(his number 1 being Planes, Trains, and Automobiles), but it is a funny movie. I read some comments on this movie from Canadians, and they're way too hard on it. It does poke fun at Canada a little, but it's not that bad. John Candy is actually Canadian, as almost anyone who knows who he is knows, and he really brought it out in this movie, just like in the old SCTV skits(that show needs to get on comedy central, in the time slot next to SNL. My local cable puts it on Saturday nights at about 2 a.m. I can't believe it!) I loved some of the jokes in this movie, (though at times some of them weren't funny, and also were slow) and scenes like the campfire, the hockey game, and the part where a cop pulls them over in Canada(in which Dan Akyroyd did a cameo, he also was in a film back in '88 with John Candy called 'The Great Outdoors'). That's all great stuff and makes up for some of the bad moments in the movie. Once again, no where near Candy's best movie, or performance, but it was still good fun. 2.5 / 5 stars
John Candy was and still is one of my favorite comedians. He knew the art
of comedy...and it didn't have to be laced with profanity.
One of the reviews suggest it is offensive to Canadians...what??????
In the film Canadians are portrayed as polite, clean and somewhat naive...Americans are portrayed as violent, dirty and somewhat naive.
For every joke aimed at Canadians is aimed back at Americans...that's what makes the film funny though...it is much like the actual relationship between the countries.
For Canadians...hearing John Candy respond to the capital of Canada being Ottawa was priceless..."What do you think were stupid?", hilarious. :)
Also funny...the streets of Toronto being bare!! Toronto is the 5th largest city in North America. Suddenly...everyone disappears...
Candy will be missed! RIP John!
The President of America's ratings have dropped. What he really needs to do
is get a war to get his popularity up. However the usual bad guys aren't
interested so he decides to start a talking war against Canada. Using the
media to stir up anti-Canadian feeling his popularity rises but a group of
American citizens take it too far and prepare for invasion.
Michael Moore is a rare talent and many of his programmes and films could be used as a model for anyone wanted to do satire and be both political and funny at the same time. When he's on form he puts our own Mark Thomas into the shade. However with this film he can't take a really good idea and make it last for 90 minutes. Most scenes with the President and his media war with Canada is really sharp and really funny just like Moore at his best.
However it's the rest of the film outside of this one point that fails. It is just a rambling comedy that doesn't have anything to say or do. Moore is a little lost and it lacks bite and, sadly, laughs. The cast try hard and Candy is watchable if not at his best. Alda is good but a bit too light and friendly to be the president. The rest of the cast are amusing in different ways Torn, Pollack, Nunn, Spadlin, Wright, Belushi etc are all good.
Overall Moore lacks his usual bite and this one good idea is lost in a film when really it could have been a good 15 minute sketch. The media war is funny and, post 9/11, is quite sharp even though it is a little too light, but outside of that the comments, ideas and laughs dry up.
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