What is it to be Canadian?
So the 2013 documentary Being Canadian was naturally appealing to this Faux-nuck. A documentary by transplant sitcom writer Robert Cohen (The Big Bang Theory, According to Jim), it looks at what being a Canadian means, by way of a cross-country road-trip full of history and facts and an assortment of interviews aimed at exploring Canadian stereotypes, like why Canadians are so nice, why they have an inferiority complex and why there's no identifiable Canadian national food (though I'd argue that poutine certainly fits the delicious bill.) For someone with a healthy understanding of Canada, its history and its culture, the film is something of a refresher course (with a few unearthed surprises), but to most it will be an enlightening experience.
No matter what you learn, watching the film will be entertaining simply because of the array of people who participated, including a who's who of Canadian entertainers who have made their name in the States.You've got musicians like Rush, The Barenaked Ladies and Alanis Morissette; actors like Michael J. Fox, Cobie Smulders and William Shatner; well-known celebrities like Alex Trebek, Malcolm Gladwell and Morley Safer, and an incredible assortment of some of the funniest people from the last several decades, including Dan Aykroyd, Mike Meyers, Dave Foley, Catherine O'Hara, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Howie Mandel. There's even some funny Americans on-hand, like Conan O'Brien, Ben Stiller, and Dana Gould, in order to give some of the U.S. perspective on the Great White North. Together, they keep the education fun, making sure you don't zone out by the time the film reaches Saskatchewan.
Though there's lots of interesting trivia in this film, by the time the film ends and Cohen has completed his journey, the core thesis is only given lip service. It doesn't feel like any answers have really been found. Instead, it feels like an extended version of those I Love the ‘80s shows, only focused on America's Hat--an opportunity for people to good-naturedly goof on the quirky customs of our upstairs neighbor, whether it's their bad TV, odd sports or generally low international profile. Cohen's background certainly comes in handy when it comes to profiling such a self-effacing nation, and he digs up some interesting theories about Canada's identity and proficiency at comedy, but there's not a lot of meat when it comes to the film's guiding question. Which may just be the answer it was looking for.
The PCM 2.0 track is possibly the least active track you'll ever hear, made up mainly of interview sound, with some minor musical moments. There are no concerns about the audio, as distortion is not a problem, but it's a pretty mellow presentation.
The Bottom Line