Directed and written by David Ray
Starring Jay Baruchel and Sarah Lind
Every so often when the dream factory is strapped for happy endings, it turns to the magical, angelic or supernatural. Think of the much remade Heaven Can Wait formula - dying man returns to life in another man's body; romantic complications ensue - and you'll get the picture. Which may or may not help you understand the odd little blend that is Fetching Cody, a debut feature from Canadian writer and director David Ray in which he attempts to combine that sentimental Hollywood fantasy with a comic drama about street kids.
Some-time drug dealer and user Art (a far too winsome Jay Baruchel dressed in an implausibly pristine sweatshirt) is deeply in love with some-time hooker and heroine addict Cody (played by an equally milk-fed Sarah Lind who, for her part, radiates inexplicable joy). Despite their apparently cheerful existence, he bursts into her apartment one night to find that she has lapsed into a coma that may have been caused by an overdose, or merely by life on what the press material tells us are the mean streets of Vancouver's Downtown East Side. (The city is unrecognizable; these streets might as well be anywhere.)
Now, when not faithfully attending her hospital bedside, Art takes refuge in a warehouse full of junk stored by the shopping-cart philosopher Harvey (a far too lovable Jim Byrnes). There, Art tries out Harvey's magic La-Z-Boy, which the man swears is a time machine.
Sure enough, the chair allows Art to travel back in time to the day things first went wrong for Cody, when the bullies at her all-girls-school teased her about the blood stain on her white shorts.
It takes Art three very amusing attempts before he finally gets a recalcitrant young Cody to accept a box of tampons from a total stranger. She makes some worrying reference to her brother and bingo, Art is back on the day when the boy blew out his brains in his parents' suburban back yard.
For a moment here - as Art's second stab at fixing this bit of history delays the brother's suicide by a whole minute before a flying piece of brain lands at our hero's feet - there is a glimpse of a very funny black comedy that could somehow encompass the Downtown Eastside and the time machine. But that glimpse soon evaporates because, of course, Art has to learn lessons about accepting consequences or accepting death or something.
Turns out he can't really change the present - Cody's comatose body still lies stubbornly on that hospital bed -whether he fiddles with her deep-seated past or merely more recent coincidences.
The scenes where he is supposed to take responsibility for having sold her the drugs in the first place are morally weightless; Baruchel has created far too charming a character for an audience to lay Cody's problems at his door.
Ray just appears to be hunting about for a theme here; the final third of the script feels like an afterthought in a film that cannot bring any plausibility to its gritty setting nor its characters' plight because it began with an inherently sentimental plot device.