Currently available on VOD, and hitting theatres shortly, is a sweetly charming and cuddly rom-com from Benny & Joon director, Jeremiah Chechik that is exactly what its title reflects - THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG. Filled with delightfully quirky characters and seemingly implausible situations, the strength of the film is Chechik’s casting of Ryan Kwanten as the haplessly smitten boy next door, punctuated by standout supporting performances from, among others, no less than comedy veterans Catherine O’Hara and Will Sasso. And dare I even mention the breathtakingly beautiful lensing of cinematographer Luc Montpellier showcasing the intimate majesty of Alberta, Canada.
Struggling writer Leo Palamino is frustrated; frustrated with his wife, frustrated with his career, frustrated with life. With his freshman novel “Sex and Sunsets” already published (albeit no copies sold), he works part-time as a dishwasher at a small local restaurant while trying to write his next book. Sadly, he can’t seem to find the words when he puts pen to paper. On the other hand, wife Julie is on the upswing thanks to her blog called “Why You Suck” in which she documents all the reasons husband Leo is a complete and utter failure. Making a mockery of what she perceives to be Leo’s flaws as the blog’s premise, “Why You Suck” has catapulted Julie into a book deal while Leo still agonizes over his writing ability. Adding insult to injury, Leo refuses to read Julie’s blog and although the butt of jokes with everyone in the community - not to mention the world - has no idea why as Leo believes that what Julie sees as flaws are really just her inability to appreciate his dreams and optimism. Needless to say, Julie divorces Leo, leaving him lost and alone, sitting on his couch in deep depression with the only company being visits from his friend Mandeep’s over-achieving, precociously adorable children, Ravi and Pia.
As luck would have it, just when Leo is at his lowest and most vulnerable, Fate plays her hand when Leo “fumbles” into a chance meeting with Colette. Beautiful, a naturalist who gives tours of the region to locals and visitors alike, Colette is the woman of Leo’s dreams, his soulmate. Only problem is that she’s marrying Mr. Perfect - Danny Hart - attorney, Olympian, philanthropist and filthy rich - and he picks her wedding day to crash the wedding and try to win her hand.
With the help of Colette’s estranged and wacky mother Tess, Ravi and Pia and best friend Neil, Leo will stop at nothing to win Colette’s heart leading to antics that while many may believe to be bordering on stalking, are so sweet and pure, you can’t help but root for true love to find a way.
You can’t help but adore the character of Leo Palamino. Hapless, quirky and idiosyncratic, you fall in love with his puppy dog eyes and clumsy attempts to impress. Leo may just be the Lloyd Dobbler of the 21st Century. Ryan Kwanten nails the character in essence and physical performance and truly is the heart of THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG.
Always a fan of Sara Canning’s, here is no different as she is as breezy and bright as Colette as the film’s cinematography. Disturbing and unsettling, however, is Ryan McPartlin’s performance as Danny Hart. You get a feel of the character being frustrated and closeted, forced to impress tea-bagging parents and thus over-compensating, whereupon he then becomes totally unlikeable, deceitful and mean. Compounding the unevenness of the character traits, there is a disjointedness between McPartlin’s voice and his body that is distracting, giving the sense all of his lines had been looped by another voice. The voice we hear doesn’t fit the body. Never do you believe that Colette should marry Danny. Completely ill-matched and Danny is ill-suited for anything. Just never feel comfortable with McPartlin on screen.
Marvelous best friend material is Will Sasso who, as Neil, elevates the humor and embraces the heart of the character of Leo. Similarly, Rhaoul Bhaneja brings in yet another fun element as Mandeep. Scene stealing are Maya Samy and Mateen Devji as the precociously disarming Pia and Ravi. These two alone are worth the price of admission - especially Maya Samy.
Have to say though - MORE MORE MORE Catherine O’Hara. She is fabulous! The storyline and the visual on-screen antics of the film as a whole, while cohesive and fleshed out, would benefit with more of O’Hara’s Tess. Although too brief, the chemistry between O’Hara and Kwanten is charming as potential mother-in-law/son-in-law scenario. They click and feed off each other with a refreshing naturalism.
THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG is a wonderful addition to the rom-com genre but with a fun and sincere twist. Not having read Tim Sandlin’s novel, just based on what Megan Martin has created with her script, I am now anxious to read the origin material. There is true romance, goofiness from the heart and the comedy is natural, organic, and even the physical gags never feeling contrived. Notable within the story is tacit discussion on a perfect blend of a relationship and how social media affects it. The beauty of accepting and using the “flaws” and perceived shortcomings of individuals and turning them into strengths is just BRAVA storytelling and something of which we need to see more. Rather than make fun of Leo and his “under achievements”, we see them celebrated and indeed, used as tools for personal growth. Don’t ignore them, face them. And never give up on what you truly want. Martin and director Jeremiah Chechik deliver an old-fashioned 30's comedy, complete with some great physical site gags that fit the characters and the story without feeling forced or non sequitur.
The real highlight of THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG is the cinematography. Can we just take a moment and look at the screen and bask in the beauty of the locations kin Alberta, Canada, and as a result, the sunlit beauty and expansiveness of the Luc Montpellier’s lensing? Just seeing the majesty of the mountains, the green trees, blue blue lake and perfectly sunny yellow sky bathes you in the warmth and glow of a summer's day. That is just the start of the tonal bandwidth for this film and everything about that is “right.” As if the exteriors aren't beautiful enough, the lightness and brightness then filters through to the interiors with lots of windows, white and slightly blue, mint or light turquoise interior walls and apportionments or walls of rich buttery golden pine. THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG IS A VISUAL STUNNER that soothes and elevates the mood just looking at the screen. Not at all surprised to see this result from the brilliant Montpellier who dazzled me and won me over with his work in Cairo Time.
Adorably sweet, charming and filled with love, right down to a “Ghost Bear” and fluffy white cats named Snow and Balls, everything is right about THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG.
Directed by Jeremiah Chechik
Written by Megan Martin based on the novel by Tim Sandlin
Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Sara Canning, Catherine O’Hara, Will Sasso, Kristen Hager,