Hot Docs 2015: Being Canadian Review

Special Presentations 

Being Canadian follows Canuck comedy writer/ director Rob Cohen’s quest across the country to find out what it really means to ‘be Canadian’. This is a very abstract concept, and the result is a mix between emphasizing how little the rest of the world knows (or cares) about us, while boasting about our biggest exports (mostly comedians).

Cohen’s years in the business working on dozens of sitcoms (he wrote the classic ‘Flaming Moes’ Simpsons episode), helped him gain access to some big names for this doc. This includes Mike Myers, Seth Rogan, William Shatner, Michael J. Fox, Dan Aykroyd, Will Arnett, and Jason Priestley, to name just a few. He even gets longtime (American) friend Ben Stiller to chime in on the subject.

The celebrity interviews are definitely this doc’s strong suit. The interviews with other people around the world talking about Canada are humorous at times but confuse an already broad topic. The film is a bit of hodge podge of a bunch of different ideas and stories relating to Canada, and seems a little slapped together with sections varying in quality.


In many ways, this feels like a rough cut, or a really good home movie. Rob Cohen inserts himself and his humour in it quite a bit. Some of his jokes are funny, many of them are basically Dad jokes, and a couple just don’t make any sense. He is a comedy writer let off the leash to make a very personal project, and in the process illustrates why comedy writers need editors. But that’s not to say this film isn’t worth its weight in syrup (and as you’ll learn from the film, that’s quite a bit!).


Sat, Apr 25 9:45 PM @ Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Sun, Apr 26 3:30 PM @ Hart House Theatre