Meet Robert R. Mutt (Josh Peace), a simple 30 something-year old from Riverside, Canada who serves as the main character and anti-hero of You Might as Well Live. He is innocent, and somewhat confused. Think of an older Canadian version of Napoleon Dynamite and you have Robert. We are introduced to this interesting fellow when he attempts to commit suicide by drowning himself. He is unsuccessful in his attempt and is subsequently placed in a mental hospital. After showing the doctors and orderlies that he is actually a really happy individual, he is kicked out of the hospital and forced to return back to “normal” society.
When Robert returns home he is greeted angrily by his family who think he’s a retard, and his neighbor and former Cub Scout troop leader, Mr. Steinke (Stephen McHattie) who believes Robert is a pervert. Robert is basically forced out of town because of this allegation and then sets out on a quest to become a “somebody”. Relying on the advice of his idol, former baseball player Clinton Manitoba (Michael Madsen), Robert is determined to find three life altering things: money, a girl, and a championship ring.
You Might As Well Live is a quirky, dark, and often bizarre tale of realizing one’s goals and setting out to achieve them. The humor is quite raunchy and at times reminiscent of the Farrerly brothers. There are full frontal nude shots, scenes of defecation, regurgitation and even moments of sadomasochism. A Canadian production, You Might as Well Live is a twisted, sometimes funny indie film that may not appeal to everyone. It may disgust some while at the same time intriguing others. There were scenes in the film that turned me off and then again there were scenes that made me chuckle.
Simon Ennis’ direction is adequate at best. His style is that of a watered down Wes Anderson. Many of the shots follow Robert as he makes his way through the journey of life. There is one surprise after the other and the audience won’t know what to expect, or what’s hitting them. Ennis and star, Josh Peace have truly crafted a zany screenplay that will either delight or disturb the viewer, possibly both.
What I like most about You Might as Well Live is the absolutely oddball cast of characters. Josh Peace stands out as Mutt, the main nut in this madhouse of citizens. There is Stephen McHattie, who plays the sinister Mr. Steinke with villainous vigor. Dov Tiefenbach plays Hershey, Mutt’s stoner best friend. There are a bunch of other eccentric individuals who make Riverside deliciously weird and finally there’s Michael Madsen who portrays Mutt’s hero and spiritual guide, Clinton Manitoba, the Yoda to Mutt’s Luke Skywalker who seeks guidance and help on his path to “greatness”. Madsen is wonderfully weird and adds a bit of class to this otherwise classless film.
I have to admit, before seeing this film, I was a little nervous. Not knowing what to expect made me feel a little uneasy. But once the opening credits began to roll and the wacky soundtrack showed itself, I soon felt a sense of warmth, and security realizing that the adventures of Robert R. Mutt were that of a misguided loner, a sensitive warrior fighting for peace and justice in a rather insensitive world. Canada isn’t known for many things but one thing they should be known for is Robert R. Mutt.
DVD Bonus Features
The bonus features of You Might as Well Live are average at best. There are four short deleted scenes which might actually have made the movie better. There are “Weather Reports” conducted by a minor supporting character by the name of J. Amberson De Whitt. There are previews of other indie films, and there is a feature length commentary track with writer/director Simon Ennis and writer/actor Josh Peace.