Review of 'Canadian Bacon'

canadian_bacon.jpg The weak-willed, insecure US president (Alan Alda) is suffering from low popularity ratings due to his anti-war platform. It is not helped by the fact that military businessman R.J. Hacker (G. D. Spradlin) blames the closure of his military manufacturing plant and the loss of many American jobs on the president. Determining that popularity lies in staring up hostilities with another country the president fails in his attempt to provoke Russian President Vladimir Kruschkin (Richard E. Council). When American Sheriff Bud Boomer (John Candy) makes a disparaging comment about Canadian Beer a riot breaks out in a Canada-US hockey game that becomes a news sensation. Seeing the riot the president is talked into starting a publicity campaign against Canada by his closest companions war-mongering General Dick Panzer (Rip Torn) and the slightly more rational National Security Advisor Stuart Smiley (Kevin Pollak). As the campaign heats up Boomer and his trigger-happy girlfriend Honey (Rhea Perlman) are determined to do their bit about the menace to the north by crossing the border to attack the Canadian “capital” in Toronto.

A tremendously amusing take on the American-Canadian dynamic featuring the biggest names in American/Canadian comedy of the time and directed by the hard-hitting documentary (Fahrenheit 9/11, Roger & Me…) film-maker Michael Moore. Included in the fun is Canadian Candy portraying the fiercely American sheriff in this, one of his classic lower-budget comedies which includes Uncle Buck. Alongside him here is a delightful Rhea Perlman at her manic best. Of the cast, Alda plays a typically dry role that never shows the sheer exuberance of his role as Hawkeye in television series MASH so greatly disappoints here.

The film consists of a number of amusing vignettes commenting on American and Canadian sensibilities of the time loosely held together by a nominal story. Mostly this serves as a vehicle for the amazing comedic cast. Sadly, this does mean the material is a bit dated and would likely be slightly missed by contemporary audiences though for those from the period (!) it is quite funny. It is not a film of high production values but that is part of the charm, it is just silly, good fun.

“Canadian Bacon” is not a piece of fine art but it is an amazingly fun and amusing satire of American (and Canadian!) life from the 90s though this does mean it has slightly dated.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-10-12

Directed by: Michael Moore

Studio: Dog Eat Dog Films

Year: 1995

Length: 91 minutes

Genre: Comedy