There are no big action sequences to speak of, not even big stars (unless, of course, you count Daniel Baldwin – who I assume whose attachment got the film financed – playing the owner of a comic-book store), nor an Evanescence song to end the film…. And yet it’s just as captivating as anything that opens with the Marvel comic’s scrawl.


David Ingram, Perry Mucci, Andrea Hicks, Daniel Baldwin

“Sidekick” Screening:
Saturday, December 2nd at 8:45 p.m.
Chauvel Cinema
(Corner of Oxford St & Oatley Rd in Paddington)

When James Cameron tried to get “Spider-Man” off the ground in the early 90s, there was just one thing standing between him and the lens: money. Well, there was red tape, but behind the tape, there was cabbage – cabbage that nobody was going to hand over to get he job done. Around the same time, Roger Corman directed the first film version of “The Fantastic Four” – a movie that was never intended to be released, if only because it was made with the budget the size of a school fete. When the film incarnation of “Watchmen” fell through last year, it was again money that was to blame for the collapse. And when “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” hit screens in 1987 most critics observed that it needed more – yep, you guessed it – “money”, if it was ever going to be a good movie (a script might’ve been a good start, too).

Funny then that money seems to be something that goes hand-in-hand with making a good superhero movie and yet Canadian filmmaker Michael Sparaga has made quite a good superhero effort with what seems to be the monetary equivalent of say, a piece of home gym equipment.

Granted, “Sidekick” isn’t your typical ‘man in tights’ escapade…. It won’t even sit on the same shelf as “Daredevil” or “X-Men” at Blockbuster. For all intents and purposes, it’s a comedy… a satire on the films we’ve been shovelling in for the past few years now. But boy, someone at Arad’s company is definitely going to be implanting a tracker within Sparaga’s arm from here on out.

Norman (Perry Mucci) is your typical comic book lovin’ nerd. When he catches what-he-believes to be a fellow worker (David Ingram) using his super powers (he catches a coffee cup quicker than a bed mate of Pamela Anderson’s would catch Hep B), he sees an opportunity. Though the guy is reluctant to use his powers for anything other than catching the odd falling coffee cup, Victor eventually twists the workmate’s arm into letting him to train him as a superhero.

It mightn’t have the polished look of your token Hollywood mainstreamer but the Blake Van de Graaf directed “Sidekick” has something that many of those films don’t: a script – and a good one. This thing has real characters, real emotion, and mostly, real laughs. There are no big action sequences to speak of, not even big stars (unless, of course, you count Daniel Baldwin – who I assume whose attachment got the film financed – playing the owner of a comic-book store), nor an Evanescence song to end the film…. And yet it’s just as captivating as anything that opens with the Marvel comic’s scrawl.

OK, so some may be hoping that the film encompasses a little more ‘comic book movie in-jokes’ than it does, when its emphasis seems to be telling a more realistic…even human…story, but with Kevin Smith’s patenting the whole ‘spoof the comic world’ genre in his films, Sparaga obviously realised it wasn’t even worth trying to play Mortal Kombat against him – and went for something different.

Different works. Different’s good.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris