I derive no pleasure from seeing mediocre Canadian films at TIFF. I have this strange, patriotic notion that some of these little indies will prove to have enough charm or wit to elevate them above the mundane, yet too often they’re so abysmally bad (a few come to mind) that their inclusion in the fest borders on insulting.
All of this is to say that while DOPPELGÄNGER doesn’t join that pantheon of truly excremental Canadian films, nor does it rise to heights of anything particularly good or memorable. It’s a pedestrian, indie high concept comedy, as run-of-the-mill as any such work from any country in the world. If we can be proud that we can generate mediocrity, then we can be proud of this film.
The plot centers around Karl, a writer who after nearly dying becomes obsessed with the last person he saw before going unconscious. Paul is a copy editor (“copy”…get it?) who happens to be the person Karl saw, and Karl now thinks that Paul is, in fact, his twin. After Paul agrees to peruse Karl’s masterwork entitled A Book About How Much I Hate Myself, they fall apart from one another. They reunite when, strangely, they find another pair promoting the very same book on television, a pair of other unalike twins.
The movie manages to elicit a few chuckles, and the leads play in an appropriate deadpan fashion, but there’s a tedium to the proceedings that hard to shake. Once the dominoes are stacked, they fall in a way you’d expect, and the story creeps to its conclusion in a linear fashion.
DOPPELGÄNGER PAUL carves out space in that no-man’s land of “OK” films – given the passions of a festival audience with such dramatic high and lows, “acceptable” doesn’t really have much room. It’s fine, but forgettable.