Starring Donald Faison, Jon Dore. Written and directed by Brett Heard. 14A. 84 min. Jan. 25, 27, and 29 at Cineplex Odeon Yonge–Dundas.
There’s something intrinsically Canadian about a stag-party comedy in which a stripper’s much-anticipated routine is interrupted by not one but two guests claiming to be concerned about her exploitation. Clearly, this country is too full of nice guys for viewers to expect this homegrown variant on The Hangover to revel in the unmitigated sleaze typical of Hollywood movies about bachelors on benders. Thankfully, writer-director Brett Heard has the good sense to mock his most sensitive characters, even if this intermittently funny local effort needs to be a whole lot wilder.
Stag’s reluctance to let matters stray too far out of control is reflected in the decision to cast one of Canada’s most abrasively absurd comics in a straight-man role. That said, Jon Dore is very likeable as Luke, a perpetually exhausted dad and working stiff who’s one of several pals looking for some payback at the bachelor party for Ken (former Scrubs star Donald Faison), a prankster infamous for his antics at previous stags.
Since his guests are distracted by their own predicaments, Ken needn’t be so paranoid about any get-even schemes. For one thing, he’s clearly not about to be abducted and dumped in some fleabag motel with an inflatable sex doll, seeing as Stag’s action is almost entirely confined to a bar on Queen Street East. With its sedentary tendencies and erratic energy levels, Heard’s movie is a little too authentic in its resemblance to real-life stags that promise much but peter out into a stream of half-hearted dick jokes before the pitchers are emptied. A smattering of smart lines and great comedic turns by Tony Nappo and Pat Thornton, however, are still enough to get us through the night.