Fine Showing By All In Well-Paced Canadian Film.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 03/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is much to enjoy from this cleverly written and scored musical comedic drama that is replete with palatable performances from those responsible for its completion. Would-be songwriter Asa Gemmil (Jason Priestley) has never worked a day, instead surviving upon a trust fund that enables him to devise a lifestyle largely based upon homage to the culture, and in particular the popular music, of the 1930s and 1940s big band swing period. A disparity between fantasy and reality in Asa's world caves in whenever he utilizes visitation rights for his young son Michael (whom he typically dubs Stewart in honour of their Scottish heritage), the sole object that Asa loves more than music of his favoured era. Unfortunately for Asa, when his former wife Charity (Deborah Odell), Michael's mother, discovers that Asa has been taking the boy to hear late hour night club entertainment, she issues an ultimatum that Gemmil must instantly take an interest in locating regular employment or she will deny him any opportunity of spending time with Michael, as she understandably perceives a need for more appropriate forms of shared activity to be provided by the lad's father. Charity's proviso receives firm support from Michael's grandparents, but happily Asa's Uncle Billy, owner of an advertising agency, prevents disaster by placing Asa in a position with the firm, despite the dreamer's apparent inability to visualize much beyond performances of his favourite players in old musical films. Nonetheless, he adapts nicely to his freshly structured existence, exuding pride in the discharge of his job-related duties, principally because he has become infatuated with a comely co-worker, Karen (Tanya Allen). What would surely have been a stifling atmosphere for former free spirit Asa has become altered thanks to this new romantic interest that presents an opportunity that he is determined to utilize for maintaining regular contact with his son. Director Brock Simpson, who has also contributed the work's screenplay, additionally composing its music and writing the lyrics, is not averse to taking chances, and his solid background in the creation of musical theatre is apparent within an imaginative, and quite often erudite, script. Priestley is very effective as the lead, demonstrating excellent timing, and although he handily outplays Allen, there is yet winning chemistry between them, while the remainder of the Canadian based cast and crew work with competence and to good effect. Although a VHS version is still locatable, a Seville DVD package is superior on all counts, released as a widescreen print and with outstanding Dolby digital sound that complements a well-crafted score for this above standard picture."