Review: ‘Guidance’ gets an A for its subversive silliness


A scene from “Guidance.”

(Strand Releasing)

Canadian funnyman Pat Mills was born to play David Gold, a former kid actor who’s now a floundering, alcoholic, sexually confused man-child living in an epic state of denial. David is at the epicenter of “Guidance,” a wacky, subversive comedy also written and directed by Mills. It’s a creative hat trick of wildly amusing proportions.

After David is fired from a last-ditch voice-over gig — and with the clock ticking on his overdue rent — he wangles his way into a job as a high school guidance counselor. Borrowing (stealing?) the identity and generic patter of an online teen advisor named Roland Brown, David sets up shop at nearby Grusin High.

In short order, he proves the worst guidance counselor ever — or maybe the best — as he shares vodka shots, weed and unvarnished, be-yourself advice with an array of students, a few of whom he strangely helps.

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Although the faculty doesn’t know what to make of the oddball David/Roland (“He dresses like a ventriloquist’s dummy!”), the kids come to think he’s OK. Weird but OK.

Aside from the gay gym teacher, the person most drawn to David is Jabrielle (Zahra Bentham), a student with self-esteem issues and a rough home life. She will pair off with him for a third-act adventure that’s as far-fetched as it is narratively satisfying.

Mills peppers his fresh script with an assortment of throwaway lines, kooky character beats and off-kilter emotional truths. That he packs so much memorable silliness into one 80-minute film is quite the feat. Sequel, please.




No MPAA Rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Playing: Sundance Sunset Cinemas, West Hollywood.

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