"Everything's Gone Green" is clever — but in a '90s way
Douglas Coupland, who popularized the phrase "Generation X" (the title of his first book in 1991), is past his prime as a voice for that...
Special to The Seattle Times
"Everything's Gone Green," with Paulo Costanzo, Steph Song, JR Bourne, Aidan Devine, Susan Hogan, Tom Butler.
Directed by Paul Fox, from a screenplay by Douglas Coupland. 95 minutes. Rated R for some language, sexual material and drug content. Varsity.
Douglas Coupland, who popularized the phrase "Generation X" (the title of his first book in 1991), is past his prime as a voice for that generation — especially since it's such a dated label anyway — but he's still got plenty of followers for his continuing work as a writer, artist and performer.
Surprisingly, screenwriting is new to his résumé. Not so surprisingly, his debut, in collaboration with director Paul Fox, hearkens back to some of the idiomatic texture and thematic elements that first gained him attention. "Everything's Gone Green" takes place in the present, but its slacker hero, Ryan (Paulo Costanzo), and his indifferent existence as a Vancouver, B.C., cubicle serf has roots in the early '90s ennui of the generation Coupland captured so ineloquently in his early novels.
"Everything's Gone Green," with Paulo Costanzo, Steph Song, JR Bourne, Aidan Devine, Susan Hogan, Tom Butler. Directed by Paul Fox, from a screenplay by Douglas Coupland.
95 minutes. Rated R for some language, sexual material and drug content.
In clichéd comic style, Ryan loses his numbing job "pushing electrons around with a stick" on the same day he's dumped by a yuppified girlfriend who's tired of their inert lifestyle. Another droll gaffe soon lands Ryan a stretch working for the Vancouver provincial lottery's promotional magazine as a writer of puff pieces about recent winners. Fortune continues to smile upon Ryan's slothful cuteness (stubble, rumpled shirts, tacky ties) when he meets Ming (Steph Song), a freelance movie-set dresser on the verge of breaking up with her trendy scammer boyfriend Bryce (JR Bourne).
Ryan takes up with Ming but falls from her grace after Bryce talks him into a gray-area lottery swindle, which gains him a few upscale creature comforts at the expense of the kind of grown-up morality she's looking for.
There are hordes of clever riffs on Vancouver, which plays itself rather than a stand-in for New York, Seattle or Anytown, USA — a point the movie has great fun with.
"Everything's Gone Green" is smart, frequently quite funny and punctuated by a jangly pop soundtrack. All this adds to a lingering disappointment over the lack of cohesive structure. Too many cute anecdotes prevent it from rising above the throwaway ethos the real Generation X left behind nearly a decade ago when it abruptly got over itself.
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