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With: Craig Ferguson, Kevin Pollak, Anna Friel, Wendy Crewson, Caroline Dhavernas, Peter Keleghan, Tom Barnett
Written by: George F. Walker, Dani Romain
Directed by: Gary Yates
MPAA Rating: R for some mild violence, sexuality and language
Running Time: 90
Date: 01/01/2005

Niagara Motel (2006)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Falls and Can't Get Up

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I'm not exactly sure what compelled me to finish watching this so-called "black comedy," which is a little heavy on the black and far too light on the comedy. In fact, it's bloody depressing. After his wife dies in a bizarre honeymoon accident, a man (Craig Ferguson) drinks, sulks and works as a janitor in a sleazy motel. A young couple of reformed junkies (Anna Friel and Tom Barnett) staying in one of the rooms try to get their baby back from foster care. A middle-aged man (Peter Keleghan) goes to a job interview, doesn't get the job and contemplates suicide. His angry, broke wife (Wendy Crewson) decides to hang out with the prostitute next door and maybe go out on a date. A waitress (Caroline Dhavernas) finds herself pregnant, while juggling three alternately sleazy and annoying suitors. She also decides to earn a quick buck by agreeing to make a porno flick. The DVD box makes all this sound funny, and the sly, chirpy music leads me to believe that the filmmakers thought it was too. Perhaps I held out hope that it would get better, or maybe I was just mesmerized by the awfulness of it all. Kevin Pollak is perhaps the film's most recognizable face, playing a slimy con man in a leather jacket and pimp hat. Oddly, the adorable, funny Dhavernas is best known for her excellent, short-lived TV series Wonderfalls, also set in Niagara Falls. Gary Yates (Seven Times Lucky) directed. (The Marilyn Monroe film Niagara, which is much better than this, can be glimpsed on a movie theater marquee in one shot.)

DVD Details: The DVD from Allumination comes only with a trailer and optional Spanish subtitles (no English).

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