Canadian Bacon (1995) Poster

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Brilliant Satire
Wulfstan1024 March 2005
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 levels.

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.
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The joke is on you...
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.
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The View From Canada
RockBiter10 February 2005
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.
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Brilliant satire
manu-6216 January 2005
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.
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Not great but it has some excellent moments
davidrshannon20 July 2000
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 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!
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Somebody has a great understanding of culture
mikekanderson20 December 2003
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.
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Anne Murray, all day, every day
backtoflatlands22 January 2003
Dear Canadians who were offended by this movie,

Please reference dictionary definitions of "satire" and "irony".

I watched this movie for the first time on Sunday, and watched it again this morning. Moore's a genius.

I thought the funniest moment was when the president called Clark MacDonald, the prime minister, to plead with him to shut off the Hacker Hellstorm, and was forced to speak stilted French with the prime minister's French-Canadian wife as the clock ticked down.

Even if you can't see the irony in Americans not knowing that Ottawa's the capital of Canada, or the Americans being glad to leave the clean, non-odorous, Canada for the polluted, smoke-stack befouled America, didn't you chuckle a little when Honey looked out the hospital window and upon seeing a blizzard and a guy with a sled, exclaimed "Ottawa!" ?

Oh, the "aboot" joke, IMHO, could have been left out, but the scene where Boomer was forced to add French translations of his illiterate English insults had me rolling on the floor.

I even like Neil Young.
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Probably Much Funnier Today than in 1995
dawn_millsap_elnaggar3 September 2004
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!
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Brilliantly Funny Film On Canada/Us Quirks
gavinw3317 May 2004
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 plight.

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.
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No where neer Candy's best, but pretty funny overall.
MovieAddict201628 May 2002
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
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American president starts cold war with Canada to boost popularity ratings
disdressed121 March 2007
this movie started out good.the premise is funny and original.there are some very funny scenes.but about halfway through it loses steam.maybe it's because the novelty wore off and the jokes were no longer funny.Michael Moore directed this film and has a good cast to work with,including Alan Alda, Kevin Pollak,Rhea Perlman,Rip Torn and the late,great John Candy.the movie should have worked,and it does for awhile,like i said.i lost interest about halfway through,and by the time it was over,i was paying pretty much no attention to a result,and based on the original premise and funny 1st half,the most i can give "Canadian Bacon" is 6/10.
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Eerily ahead of its time
Lars-Gosta11 April 2003
This film is funny. It is also scary. first I thought it was made recently; but it was made before even Bosnia! It does not make fun of Canadians: it makes fun of US stereotypes of Canadians. It is really a biting satire of US society. OBS, spoliers ahead: The arms industry needs a cold war and the president needs to boost his ratings; they make a deal and sets out to create a cold war with.... Canada! The plan is a tremendous success, until a bunch of flag waving, beer guzzling, gun tooting patriots decides to make the war a little hotter.....
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One trick pony that outstays it's welcome
bob the moo10 August 2002
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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Take a remake of Dr. Strangelove...
gbroagfran18 March 2000
...or a facsimile thereof, minus the black humor, add stupid jokes about Canadians and a happy ending, and you've got Canadian Bacon. Seduced yet? Hey, I liked Strangelove the first time around. The scene of the gluttonous Russian officials and the war-room scenes are lifted right out of the former. Canadian Bacon makes all the obvious Canadian/American jokes (Canadians are naive country cousins, Americans are violent, Russians are coarse, etc). Derivative and tiresome.
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Does not age well
momobrown28 June 2004
I remember seeing this movie right as I was graduating from high school and I thought it was pretty good. Remembering how I thought it was funny my wife and I rented it over the weekend. I was so disappointed. Aside from a few funny one liners (mostly by Steven Wright and Rip Torn) there was not too much to this movie. The real comedic substance was not there despite a good cast. The movie progressed very slowly and was not what I remembered. The writing was the main culprit behind making a really funny and interesting idea bland. I would only suggest renting this movie if you think superficial jabs at Canada are worth the $3 for the rent, and if that is the case rent Strange Brew instead.
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The early, dry political comedy of Michael Moore…
Anonymous_Maxine2 March 2007
Sort of like how you could see the style of the Wachowski Brothers in their 1996 film Bound, you can also see the developing style of Michael Moore in this early comedy, a ham-handed political lash at America as compared with our angelic neighbors to the north. There are certainly a lot of things that we could learn from Canada about living among each other in peace, and Michael Moore wants everyone to know that, at the same time as he makes fun of their apparently childish approach to crime control.

It's an occasionally clever political romp that is never laugh out loud funny and doesn't contain a single noteworthy performance, but I suppose it is interesting enough, if only as a curiosity piece about the early work of Michael Moore, who has made inarguably the most controversial and notorious political documentaries of all time with Bowling for Columbine and, even more, Fahrenheit 9/11.

And, of course, Moore makes an appearance in the film as, well, as himself, really – a loudmouth political activist.
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Funny, even with problems
Dave-33028 January 2000
This is perhaps the funniest political satire ever, and one of the most underrated movies. Some will watch it expecting to bust a gut, and there are plenty of sight gags to keep you laughing, but the political elements are the funniest parts. This is one of those "smart" comedies, because most of the jokes are not going to go out and smack you in the face. The plot has been duplicated and called original (cough..."South Park" cough) because the idea IS so unique.

This film has a storied history itself. Michael Moore wanted to make this movie solely a satire and the studio wanted it to be a straight comedy. This film had Eddie Murphy, Roseanne and Tom Arnold and other names in the early '90's attached to it early, but all of the "stars" had to do other films, while two studios fought over the rights to the script and film. All together it took Moore about 5 years from original concept to finished product and by the time it was nearly completed, John Candy had died, and reshoots were changed or cancelled. The film of course bombed, because neither studio really tried to promote the film, Moore refused to promote it, Candy couldn't promote it and so the film pretty much went directly to video.

It's still a great flick. Alan Alda's performance is great and Kevin Pollack does a remarkable job. It's not a typical Candy performance, but he still has fun with it. Yes, there are a couple plot holes, but almost every single joke works if you understand where Moore is coming from. This is not an anti-Canadian movie, because most of the cast is from Canada, and they obviously did this film to spoof American views of Canadians, American politics and because the film was totally different.

This is an original movie with enough laughs and humor to hold it's own, and I wish it wasn't blatantly ripped off by two stoners for their unfunny little cartoon movie.
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Full of lame stereotypes, low on cutting political commentary
mtoonsdale21 March 2006
Being born here, I have lived with "humourous" portrayals of Canadians on TV and in movies since I was born. Do they get funnier with age? No, they don't, and Canadian Bacon is chock full of them. A Mountie wearing full dress reds? Yeah, I see THAT everyday. C'mon. Although the movie is supposed to be flattering to Canada, it's really only Michael Moore's twisted perception of how we live here. In Bowling for Columbine, for instance, he made it look as if we all leave our doors unlocked. Newsflash: It depends where in the country you live. I'll bet there are places in the states (actually, I know there are places in the states) where people leave their doors unlocked.

Canadian Bacon is a half assed attempt at humour, and a half assed attempt at political commentary. Does this make for a whole ass? Nope, just two missed-matched ass halves that don't fit together. This movie is crap.
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A good premise but. . .
tcuthbertson29 November 1999
The premise of Canadian Bacon, that Canadians could rise up and rally to attack the United States, is as brilliant as it is hilarious. Unfortunately, it is not carried out as well as it could be. While this movie has its funny moments and a great cast, it gets bogged down at times because it appears the writers just couldn't think of enough topical humor to maintain this feature length film. It is, however, worth watching if nothing else to talk about at parties.
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Lacking, over-politicized comedy
Nikos729 September 2003
A 1995 Michael Moore film (of "Bowling for Columbine" fame) that does not deliver. It's a "Wag the Dog" type of film that gets only sparse, occasional laughs. [Canadian director/script-writer] Moore seems more interested in venting irony against his southern neighbors than on creating a real comedy. The jokes are, for the most part, far stretched, based on "anti-American" cliches and lacking in subtlety that would make them more useful for the overall plot. Although he does let a few hints of sarcasm against his fellow Canadians as well, I think the film fails to appeal to a broader audience other than those looking for an excuse to re-affirm their cliches.

Interesting Trivia: A cameo appearance by Michael Moore, as a naive and wild, gun-slinging American.
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Very straight-faced political satire
Electrified_Voltage25 July 2007
Political activist Michael Moore made his film debut with the documentary, "Roger & Me" in 1989. During his long career, he has raised tons of controversy with his documentaries, especially during this decade, with the likes of the widely seen films, "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11". A few years after making his debut, Moore made this fictional piece, which is his only non-documentary film to date. "Canadian Bacon" is a comedy film, one which unfortunately didn't turn out so well.

The U.S. President is currently doing very poorly in the opinion polls, with the country's economy dropping very low. To raise his popularity, the President is convinced that he must start a war, something which he has never done before during his time in the White House. So, he decides to conduct a cold war against Canada. He uses the media to lie and do everything else he can to make Canada look bad and manipulate the American public into believing that their northern neighbours are their enemies. Bud B. Boomer, the Sheriff of Niagara Falls, crosses the border with Deputy Honey, Kabral Jabar, and Roy Boy, where they all intend to attack!

As you would expect from Michael Moore, this movie is very political, and if you're familiar with his political views, it shouldn't surprise you that this movie bashes the White House and the American military, whether you like it or not. Neither Americans nor Canadians are portrayed in a positive manor in the film, as neither are portrayed as very bright. Some Canadians have been offended by this movie, due to all the stereotypes, but personally, I'm not. In fact, I think one of the only remotely funny parts is the one where Sheriff Bud B. Boomer causes a riot at a hockey game in Canada when he says that Canadian beer sucks. I think the part where the RCMP Officer says "I don't know what you're talking aboot, eh?" gave be a bit of a snicker as well. However, most of the jokes, whether they're jabs at Canadians OR Americans, are simply not funny.

Comedian John Candy, a Canadian, starred in "Canadian Bacon" as Bud Boomer. The movie was released after his tragic death in 1994 from a heart attack, and his role in it was the last role he ever completed (he died during the filming of "Wagons East"). I was only about 7 1/2 years old when he died, and had never heard of him during his life. However, I have since discovered how great a comedian he was by watching "SCTV", a classic sketch comedy show, as well as the hilarious slapstick comedy "Planes, Trains & Automobiles". "Canadian Bacon", however, is not a highlight of Candy's career, though he might add something to the film. R.I.P.

A comedy movie about a war between America and Canada sounds like a good idea, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone did a MUCH, MUCH better job with it when they made "South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut"! In "Canadian Bacon", the jokes are mostly mediocre, and the movie may start out SLIGHTLY promising, but just drags for most of its approximate ninety-minute run. It appears that many have enjoyed this movie much more than I have, so I won't say avoid it like the plague, but I wouldn't expect a classic piece of political satire, and if you have high expectations, don't be surprised if they are not met.
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Dry and not funny
refinedsugar8 March 2001
Let it be said a comedy can't run on a one joke premise and that's exactly what Canadian Bacon tries to do. No matter what the media says and portrays stereotypically us Canadians and Americans aren't that different. Sure there's cultural differences, how our countries are run, unique pop culture influences, but we're not miles apart from each other. Canadian Bacon isn't deep, intellectual comedy. It's not brilliant satire. It's a running loop of overused, unfunny clichés.

As such, I feel bad for everyone involved. John Candy, Rela Perlman, Michael Moore, Alan Alda, Kevin Pollak. This is absolute junk when you consider this was supposed to be a comedy. I only laughed once. It's dry. So very dry. If you're Canadian, feel free to be insulted. If your American, you might find this hilarious. I really don't know. This movie's story revolves initially around a large military arms manufacturing plant closing resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. Which sounds suspiciously close to the closure of the car plant in Michigan which so happens was covered by Michael Moore and made into a movie too.

Welcome Michael Moore. Welcome to the land of hope and freedom. The freedom to sell your wares wherever possible, but what am I saying? You've already been given a lesson in that I see. This is one movie you don't need to see.
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A satirical classic
niceguyandrew28 June 2003
This movie is the perfect satire and play on the views our two countries have for each other. The fact that canadian actors played canadians and american actors american (minus Candy) is great. I found this movie hilarious, as it perfectly places all of our inept views of each other. Take it with a grain of salt and you'll have an awesome time.
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The greatest movie of all time
hellataylor13 June 2003
This is the single greatest movie of all time. It is genuos to think that the quiet, clean nation of Canada is the enemy. If you have ever had a bad thought of Canada or its people, this is one you can,t miss. The funniest movie I have ever seen.
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Satire, clumsy but funny
rmax3048239 November 2003
Who could expect much in the way of comedy from Michael Moore who seemed a one-shot success with a documentary that oozed irony but was criticized for editorial chicanery?

But this one pretty much works. It falls somewhere between the zaniness of "Airplane" and the black comedy of "Doctor Strangelove." It's far funnier than other let's-go-to-war-for-political-reason movies like "The Mouse That Roared" or "Wag the Dog," even though it doesn't seem to have had much of a budget. Yes, it's silly, but what makes the jokes effective is that they follow a scenario that has become so familiar to us in real life. An adversary or non-adversary like Canada (skewered here, as much as the US is) masses troops along its border.

The media report Canadians are building a monstrous weapons system, that they are filtering across the border in untold numbers and are walking among us, that they plan to impose their way of life on us (enforcing anti-litter laws and pronouncing "about" as "aboot."). They "take a hostage." They put up the world's tallest free-standing structure as an in-your-face insult. We try to provoke some incident that we can claim as an attack in order to build up tension. The idea is not to go to war, because a war with Canada wouldn't last long enough. The idea is to return to the days of the cold war when we had a booming defense industry, lots of solidarity, a common enemy, lived in constant fear of annihilation, and everyone was happy. Moore must have carefully combed the archives for every run-up to every war since Grenada. I don't want to get into it in any more detail because it would spoil the gags, but I'll mention just one. John Candy and his gang (there are lots of Canadians in the cast) are driving near Toronto (which they believe is the capital) in a garbage truck decorated with sprayed-on slogans like, "Canada Sucks," and "Eat my Drawers," and "USA All the Way." They are pulled over by a motorcycle cop (Dan Aykroyd) who politely asks Candy to step out of the vehicle, leads him to the side of the truck, points at the graffiti and asks, "What's wrong with this picture?" Candy begins to stutter and blame "the kids back in the garage," but Aykroyd cuts off his explanation and says he's not concerned about who put it there, but he IS concerned about "Les Quebecoise." Every sign in Canada must be printed both in English and in French, and he makes Candy spray a French version of the slogans on the truck.

Oh, well, one more -- just because it's short and offhand. The president and his advisors wonder how to get back the "hostage" the Canadians are holding. One aide suggests bringing in "the Omega force." Everyone is awed by the suggestion. Even the rabid general asks, "Isn't that a little drastic?" And another adviser adds, "Sir, the Helmsley Law, Part Two, Sub B, specifically forbids the use of the Omega force against Caucasians." Something like that.

The acting is good, especially Allan Alda as the nudnik president, but little acting is required. As a director Moore gets the job done but doesn't add much. What made "Doctor Strangelove" exceptional was the realism between the comic moments, the battle scenes for instance. Here, Moore has the Omega force not just running across a field but high stepping, which isn't really as funny as it is silly. (The last man in line trips over a stone and sprains his ankle, hollers out, "Save yourselves," and another one runs back and shoots him on the spot.)

Moore as a writer turns out to be a more astute humorist than I'd expected him to be. (One Canadian prisoner, in a psycho biker's get-up, is serving his term for trying to use regular gas instead of unleaded.) It has its funny moments.
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