Hot Docs 2015 Review: Being Canadian
An exploration on the subject of our national identity, Being Canadian sees director Robert Cohen taking a cross-country journey, to find out just what defines the true north strong and free.
Finding success a writer for such comedy shows as The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory, Cohen’s fascination on cultural politics evokes out of the stereotypes which typify the average Canuck. In the process of this expedition, beginning in the Maritimes and concluding in Vancouver in time for Canada Day, various residents of each province are interviewed to get a better handle on these concerns. These segments pinpoint the regional qualities that separate the notion of the ideal Canadian, but instill a strong cringe factor through Cohen’s weak attempts at humour.
Along the way, Cohen uses his ties to the entertainment world to speak with many famous Canadian figures, including the likes of Mike Myers, William Shatner, Seth Rogen, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Alex Trebek, Howie Mandel, and Martin Short. While these sequences are amusing, they detract from documentary’s objective, and come across as overbearing by how much focus they take up. A short-form television series could have made through the amount of footage here.
Despite Being Canadian taking a modern look on our country’s history and what the average personality consists of, it leaves much to be desired, and further complicates the ideals that make us distinct. Cohen’s efforts are admirable, but his execution is sloppy, resulting in a huge misfire for Hot Docs’ festival programming.