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review

Jacob Tierney and Jessica Paré in Lovesick.

There is a classic Onion headline from 1999 that reads, "Romantic-Comedy Behavior Gets Real-Life Man Arrested." While watching the new Canadian rom-com Lovesick, I couldn't help but return to that brilliant bit of headline writing.

Here, we have an alleged protagonist, heartbroken painter Dash (Jacob Tierney), who would, in any real-life situation, be labelled a sociopath: He is so desperate to win back his beautiful, somewhat drippy ex-girlfriend (Jessica Paré) that he harangues her, her new fiancé and her family, and goes to great lengths to alienate the beautiful, smart, witty new girl (Ali Tataryn) who wanders into his life. Oh, and he also takes gross advantage of his friends and tries to break up a wedding, all to satisfy himself.

This material might make for a sly, subversive take on the genre, but writer-director Tyson Caron positions Dash as the hero of his story, a fatal flaw. At least Caron makes the setting of Winnipeg look more hip and attractive than ever before, and coaxes a rare villainous turn from Jay Baruchel as Dash's romantic rival (who, come to think of it, is more of a promising prospect than Dash himself).