Reviewed By Jason Whyte
Posted 02/02/05 13:14:26

"Hi, my name’s Jimmy. Come check out my style of work."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

SCREENED AT THE 2005 VICTORIA INDEPENDENT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL: Hey, if you were 50 years old, made gourmet cat food for a living and were drinking and gambling your life away, wouldn’t you try to pull off a major heist too? Simon Sauvé pretty out-there debut documentary-fable “Jimmywork” takes a look at a person who finds himself a bit talented at the way of words but not really going anywhere, and decides to do something about it.

This person is none other than Jimmy Webber, a schemer from Montreal who we first encounter making boiled turkey for cat-food and packaging it for sale. “No fat, no skin, it’s all lean and healthy. People should be eating this stuff instead of eating at McDonalds” he quips, and such a quote would make Morgan Spurlock smile. He’s just turning 50 and approaching a form of a crossroads, or mid-life crisis. He believes, and his friends assure him, that he has a way with words and puts his mind to anything he works on, so he should try to finally do something.

Jimmy then pretends to be a big, hot-shot American producer (I personally run into these types at film festivals, I’ll say that much) from “S&W Productions” to get financial backing to get people interested in the St. Tite rodeo in Quebec. (“I’m making a documentary on the commercials that Jimmy is trying to make,” Sauvé retorts to a friend of Jimmy on why he is being followed around by cameras.) Turns out that the rodeo is somewhat suspicious of the producer of the Jimmywork provided by this 50 year old and they turn him down. Frustrated, Jimmy retaliates and decides to plan a heist involving the rodeo’s beer supply.

I’m not sure exactly where the true documentary ends and the mockumentary begins as many of the goings-on appear too out-there to be real, but “Jimmywork” is still an interesting look into a very interesting and stubborn man with a “center of attention” disorder. Filmed in 2000, Jimmy Webber came to director Sauvé’s attention (he was his neighbour at the time) when Jimmy told Sauvé he had very “big plans” for the millennium. Jimmy, with his unique look of long grey hair (“You have a really interesting look,” a young girl at a rodeo tells him) and “tell it like it is” demeanor, makes for someone who could be parodied in a Christopher Guest feature.

Using a grainy black-and-white technique with the odd-splash of color, and filled with a jazzy, country soundtrack, “Jimmywork” looks unique and off-kilter as Jimmy’s life itself. The look and feel takes a little while getting used to, and may become a bit off-putting at first, but it eventually comes together and looks far better than many of today’s glitchy, hand-held video documentaries that don’t belong anywhere near a big theatre screen.

The film premiered last fall at the Toronto Film Festival and opens this year’s Victoria Independent Film Festival, and will be getting released into some Canadian theatres this spring, and I’m somewhat curious as to how audiences will connect with this crazy guy called Jimmy Webber. But he sure is interesting. I think we all know someone just like Jimmy who talks the talk and walks the walk, but its all talk and walk, and not much else.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.