Pavan Moondi, director and script
Starring: Phil Hanley (Alex), Luke Lalonde (Justin), Tim Heidecker (Tom)
You start out rooting for Alex, a wedding videographer, whose boss, Tom, is clearly a sleaze ball. Instead of getting paid for his last job, he gets sold a new bill of goods. This time, Alex will make even more money—and have a great time—by shooting a marriage in a Mexican resort and he can even bring a new photographer of his choosing to accompany him.
Sad sack Alex goes along with Tom’s pitch and immediately makes his new gig harder by hiring his best friend Justin to be his photographer. The only problem is that Justin hasn’t shot an image in his life—not even on Instagram.
Ontario 30-something director and writer Pavan Moondi has been busily carving out a career making films and TV shows about Canadians of his generation. His festival hit so far (it played at TIFF) has been Diamond Tongues, a comedy about a self-destructive actress. Sundowners doesn’t top that film but it is an amiable character study of two 33 year-olds (the script is specific on that point) who just can’t get their lives in order.
While trying to sort themselves out, Alex and Justin meet a predictably dysfunctional marriage party consisting of a traumatized groom who has just gone broke but hasn’t told his fiancée; a clueless but attractive bride-to-be; the gay father of the bride who has the hots for Justin; a best man who is in love with the bride; and a very excitable sister of the bride.
Sundowners is a charming film that refuses to indulge in slapstick and avoids tragedy. Two of the actors, Phil Hanley (Alex) and Tim Heidecker (Tom) are comedians, which helps the dialogue heavy script work. The best thing about the film is the chemistry between Luke Lalonde (Justin) and Hanley: you can almost believe that they’re buddies.
Pavan Moondi is clearly a director with a future.
Written by Marc Glassman
Adjunct Professor, Ryerson University
Director, Pages UnBound: the festival and series
Editor, POV Magazine
Editor, Montage Magazine
Film Critic, The New Classical FM
Film programmer, Planet in Focus
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