TIFF 2013: The Right Kind of Wrong – Movie Review

Director: Jeremiah Chechik
Writer: Megan Martin (screenplay), Tim Sandin (book)
Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Sara Canning, Catherine O’Hara
Runtime: 97 min
Rating: 14A

Romantic comedies must feature something unique in order to stand out amidst the slew of films in this genre. The Right Kind of Wrong, directed by Jeremiah Chechik, relates the tale of an optimistic young man who will go to any ends necessary in his quest to win over his dream woman. Unfortunately, although the film has its heart in the right place, it offers a typical story without anything new or different that would cause it to be worthy of attention.

Ryan Kwanten stars as Leo Palomino, a struggling writer whose ex-wife has found fame as the author of the hit blog “Why You Suck”, where she outlines all of Leo’s personal flaws. When Leo catches sight of his dream woman Collette (Sara Canning) on the day of her wedding to a seemingly perfect man, he vows to stop at nothing to win her over. Based on Tim Sandin’s novel Sex and Sunsets, The Right Kind of Wrong tells a typical story that attempts to encourage perseverance and personal integrity.

The Right Kind of Wrong

Kwanten presents an eager and likable protagonist in Leo, an individual who is often silly but always kind, and an audience is able to root for him even as we roll our eyes at his over-the-top antics. However, much of the supporting acting is weak, an exception being the performance of Catherine O’Hara; as Collette’s overbearing mother, she steals each scene in which she appears. Although Collette herself is a strong female figure, she is distant and does not endear herself to the audience, and we may find ourselves wondering why Leo is so enchanted by her in the first place. To become fully invested in a story, one must believe in it completely, so this indifference towards Leo’s love interest is one of the movie’s fatal flaws.

The Right Kind of Wrong

Unfortunately, instead of being witty and fresh, this film is rife with the clichés of romantic comedy.  Collette’s husband is a rich, attractive Olympic skier who publicly runs a camp for underprivileged children but has a private, predictable cruel side. The overly bright, high-contrast lighting attempts to create an upbeat and cheerful tone but soon begins to wear on the eyes, and although beautiful wilderness scenery appears throughout, there are also moments of notably poor CGI (computer generated imagery). Also, the movie takes a surprisingly vulgar turn as it concludes, destroying any sweetness that it may have built up.

Like its protagonist Leo, The Right Kinds of Wrong has a good heart but is ultimately a bit of a bumbling mess. Leo is likeable and the messages encouraging one to face their fears and overcome obstacles are commendable, but the noteworthy aspects end there. As movie after movie within the romantic comedy genre is released, creating something original becomes more difficult; it seems as if everything has been done before and all has been covered. The idea that this genre presents a particular challenge may be counter-intuitive to some, but this movie proves it to be true.

Photo Credits: Toronto International Film Festival