MON AMI

4 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 93 minutes
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Upset that their boss has decided to put his two sons in charge of his store, longtime hardware store employees Cal (Scott Wallis) and Teddy (Mike Kovac) concoct a plan to get their revenge for being overlooked despite their many years of service. With Cal’s family about to leave town, Cal and Teddy let everyone know that they’ll be going on a camping trip, though their real plan is to kidnap the boss’s daughter, Crystal (Chelsey Reist), and hold her for ransom in Cal’s house.

Nothing goes as planned, however, as the duo first needs to procure masks and other kidnapping-friendly tools, and their clandestine contact Vincent (Bradley Duffy) is a hopped-up nutcase who not only enjoys waving a gun around, he also labels everything with his name and address. On top of that, since they had to keep their plans secret from Vincent, his supplies are curiously odd; the masks, for example, are of luchador wrestling and gimp leather styles, respectively. Aesthetics aside, once the kidnapping plot is finally underway, everything that can go wrong does, building to an over-the-top and incredible climax that is as tense and exhausting to experience as it is entertaining.

As far as dark comedies goes, Mon Ami finds itself sharing the same ground as Peter Berg’s Very Bad Things, and I mean that as a compliment. Cal and Teddy aren’t particularly bright, so they often come across as woefully misguided as opposed to evil and malicious, which is probably why it’s easier to laugh at how absurd everything gets as their flawed plan goes to shit.

And boy does it ever blow up in their faces. I’m sure that, given enough time, I could think of a pair of criminals even more inept than these two, but they’d definitely place in the race. Everything about their kidnapping plot is basically what an idiot thinks one is supposed to do when kidnapping someone, and even their reactions when things go awry fall into the same category of someone who has seen one too many kidnapping movies on TV. Let’s just say it’s a good thing they work at a hardware store so they can get a discount on their axes, motor tools, plastic sheets and trash bags.

The few blips in the film are editing-related, as the film’s opening segments were a bit too choppy for my liking. Considering the film settles into a more traditional edit and pace for most of its duration, it seems odd that the opening should be so erratically cut. Again, though, it’s a complaint borne of the opening and mostly forgotten once the story smooths itself out.

Other than that, though, I really enjoyed Mon Ami, insomuch as one can enjoy the things that happen in this film. I can’t say I was surprised by too many of the plot turns; once you know the type of film it is, to guess that the worst possible thing that could happen next will actually be the thing that happens is not that challenging (though it is fun to see if the filmmakers have the guts to go there, and satisfying when the filmmakers do). That doesn’t mean it isn’t done well, however, and every misstep deeper into kidnapping Hell delivers on all the right dark and bloody comic beats.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.



Posted on September 9, 2012 in Reviews by
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