“Men in our family carry a fuck-up gene,” Coop tells his brother Toph in Mountain Men, but it’s hard to decide who’s more fucked-up.
the surface, Toph, played with hoserlike gusto by Tyler Labine, would
seem to be the clan’s biggest loser: a low-level weed dealer and
part-time DJ who’s just impregnated his girlfriend and has never escaped
Revelstoke. But Coop (Chace Crawford), back from New York City for his
mother’s wedding, has a lot of slow-burning torment behind his seemingly
this little B.C.–shot film’s biggest success: knowing that fucked-up
comes in many complicated flavours, with multiple shades of denial and
Writer-director Cameron Labine carefully juggles the
comedy and drama here, as the brothers learn some big life lessons in
their first reunion in three years. Right after the wedding, they decide
to head up to their late father’s remote mountain cabin to shoo out a
squatter. Somewhat predictably, the trip goes horribly awry.
it to say a chance finding of their half-crazed father’s survival
manual, an injury, and a fire put them into do-or-die mode—though the
laughs keep coming. Yes, Toph will have to learn responsibility and
uptight Coop will have to open up about his problems.
carries a lot of the film against his straight man Crawford, like the
grizzled spawn of Seth Rogen and Jack Black—a jovial head in parkas and
earflap toques. The Revelstoke scenery is the third big character,
though its wintry crags and snowbanks could have been treated a little
more sinisterly here.
The film is talky, and director Cameron
(brother to Tyler) plays it perhaps a little too gentle. But he gets at
real questions about masculinity, family, and home—the uncensored way
siblings talk to each other, the subtle ways a father’s death can eat
away at his sons, and how a small town can hold you back or haunt you
when you leave it.
Also: the inadvisability of eating pot cookies in the wilderness.
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