Some films start out slow and give a bad first impression. Yet if you give them a chance they get better and become worth the time invested in watching them. Such is the case with the new comedy Rehab.
Rehab follows the story of Jacob Cardinal (Tahmoh Penikett) a First Nations man who lives on a reserve with his family four hours from the nearest city. He lives a simple life, but his youngest daughter Tara (Leenah Robinson) has dreams of meeting her crush, a movie star named Brad (Eric Johnson). Tara wins tickets to the premiere of Brad’s latest film, and dinner with the celebrity afterwards. And she drags Jacob along with her. Unfortunately Brad isn’t the most reliable of people, and ghosts the event after getting stoned. Later that evening Jacob runs into Brad who can hardly stand on his own. And decides to kidnap him and bring him back to the reserve so he can help him clean up and get his life back on track.
It takes a while to get used to the acting and presentation of Rehab. Everyone seems to be overacting at first, and it feels like a bad low budget comedy because of it. Thankfully things start to pick up about thirty minutes into the film, and the characters start to grow on you. Robinson plays her role perfectly as the star struck, optimistic and innocent youth. All she needs is a little more experience, and she might have a big future ahead of her. It’s the relationship between Penikett and Johnson that helps give the film its real shining moments however.
The two couldn’t be more opposite, yet they mesh well together. The story really hits its stride about mid-way through, and its then that you start to feel something towards the characters and get into what they are trying to accomplish. The big issue with the film is really its overall pacing. It starts off slow for no good reason, and the ending seems too rushed. They could have sped up one and made the other a bit slower and it would have worked better. It feels like it ends just when things are getting interesting.
Rehab is about relationships with family and strangers, and because of that it has a lot of heart. It’s best to give it a bit of time to grow on you, because if you skip out of it you’ll miss something special.