Oct 21, The Vic Theatre (808 Douglas St)
Oct 25, Cineplex International Village (88 W Pender St)
Mike Drinkwater (Daniel Doheny) fails at everything he does, and the only person Wallace (Louriza Tronco) trying to encourage him to do better, he’s completely oblivious to. This coming of age comedy, appropriately titled Drinkwater, is very adorable. It may well stem from how this surname developed, where “a pauper is said to be unable to afford beer.”
In this film’s case, it’s about how Mike can find a way to be able to afford post-secondary. This plot is important since he feels uncertain about the road ahead as he finishes high school. The last year is often tough, since each youth has to decide on what his next step is. Is it to live out the dreams of what their parents set out for, like Luke Ryan (Jordan Burtchett), or to do something else? Although they aren’t immediate rivals, it’s easy to see they both have daddy issues.
But there’s more to this story than just how two generations can deal with life in a quiet town. Not only was this film made in the backyard world of Penticton, British Columbia but also there’s a 80s nostalgic connection with the music used. As the action builds, we hear tracks from Doug and the Slugs, Men Without Hats and Loverboy. Regarding what got me hooked is with how ‘in the zone’ the tune selection is. I loved how Corey Hart‘s “Never Surrender” helps wrap this tale up.
I can’t wait to see what director Stephen S. Campanelli will lead next. Although he hasn’t helmed a lot of movies, what he presents in Drinkwater is a genuine love letter to all things Canadiana–which is basically fulfilling the dream of making it on your own and driving a Zamboni! Well, there’s also hockey, and the subplot concerning a Wayne Gretzky rookie card is worth mentioning since it drives a secondary plot about one possible way to send the boy to school.
Doheny is perfect in this film. He’s a charming young man to some, but a loser to others. Anyone who has seen enough of these stories knows what to expect. In true classic fashion, he pines for a girl he can’t have, and Ryan’s relationship to her is stickler. Apparently, the conflict extends from one generation to another. The Drinkwaters is struggling to make ends meet, and the teen wants that college scholarship so he can have a better life. And this homage to John Hughes goes beyond his seminal Sixteen Candles.
Meanwhile, Wallace is having trouble adjusting to living in a small town. You’d think Mike can help, but it’s the other way around! While she secretly struggles, what’s revealed is tough. This girl and the lead lost their mom for different reasons, and it’s affected their lives. To observe how they help each other out makes this film gold.
The various conflicts presented don’t simply deal with Mike’s obstacles. His father, Hank (Eric McCormack), has issues and I love this character because this actor was giving out some John Astin vibes. When considering Doheny is likewise showing how awkward he can be (like Jay Baruchel playing Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon), the performances are worth noting.
Ultimately, the key plot points doesn’t pander. If it wasn’t for the charm between Doheny and Wallace, this story wouldn’t be a winner. Together, they are too cute and the bonus footage during the end credits show how the rivalry developed between Drinkwater and Ryan family. It’s worth sticking around to watch till the end.
5 Stars out of 5