Limp, frustrating, and trying laboriously to sound as edgy and transgressive as possible, Pond Life (screening this week at the Canadian Film Fest) is a stage-to-screen adaptation that not only can’t escape its roots, but will likely make viewers question if the material was ever that good to begin with.
Adapted from his own play by writer-director Gord Rand, Pond Life concerns a relatively prudish suburban married couple (Richard Blakely and Jeanie Calleja) who are hosting a dinner party with the wife’s streetwise foster sister (Kerry McPherson) and her arrogant, uncouth asshole boyfriend (Ryan McVittie). The husband and wife have a major life announcement to make, but long festering secrets will be brought to the surface and relationships will be changed forever.
Or at least that seems to be the purpose of Pond Life, which can’t decide if it wants to be a relationship drama, abortion parable, or half baked critique of suburban values. Written in a style that writers love, but no actual human beings sound like, and working from a playbook that cribs only the nastiest bits of Labute and Letts without any of the intellect, Pond Life is a nasty, overwritten piece of business that’s tedious to watch unfold on screen. The actors – almost all of whom seem miscast, or perhaps worse, settled upon – perform as if they’re still in the intimate confines of a theatre, and Rand’s cinematic sensibilities are stifled by drab, cheap looking visuals and chaotic editorial sensibilities.
Nothing about Pond Life works from top to bottom, but it’s too small of a production to harp on its countless problems any further. If you like lengthy, static, passionless discussions about Nazi experiments, sex acts, and colonics, then maybe you’ll find something worthwhile here.
Pond Life screens at the Canadian Film Fest on Friday, March 22nd at 7:00 pm at Scotiabank Theatre.
Check out the trailer for Pond Life: