Review: Barney’s Version

THE SETUP: Grumpy Canadian soap opera producer (Paul Giamatti) recounts the story of his life, from Italy to Montreal, and how his three wives (Rachelle Lefebre,   Minnie Driver and Rosamund Pike), his druggy best friend (Scott Speedman) and his blunt, former cop dad (Dustin Hoffman) impacted him.


First off, this is one of the most Canadian movies I’ve seen in a long time. And no, I don’t mean one of those “CBC/CRTC approved pieces of crap.” Based on a book by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, the story may not showcase Montreal very much but it does throw tons of Canadian talent at you. Twilight’s Lefebre, Due South’s Paul Gross, Scott Speedman and a few surprising soap opera directors make it fun to play, “spot the Canadian.” On top of that, you’ll really like Giamatti in this. The movie hinges on your ability to like this guy. He is an ass…but you understand why. Rosamund Pike as well steps up her game. She’s always that actress you know you’ve seen in something before but you can’t name it. If you see this, you’ll never forget her. Great writing, damn good acting. It may have only gotten an Oscar nominee for makeup but it’s still one of the better movies I’ve seen in the last few months.

3 stars – good movie, take a friend. Why not a higher rating? Good movie, not great. Strong character work but didn’t last with me after I left the theatre.

Random Recommendations
Private Parts (2007) – He entered popular culture as “pig vomit” and we’ve been a fan ever since. No, I’m not talking about Howard Stern, the star of this surprisingly engaging, funny and emotional movie. This is where Paul Giamatti made his first impact on the silver screen. It also helps that Stern can actually act…ish.


The Contender (2000) – Two things I need to get off my chest. First, this is not a boxing movie. Second, I have a thing for Joan Allen. And really, you don’t need to have “a thing” to check this out – Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliot, political intrigue, sex scandals…you’ve probably left by now to go rent it.


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