Wisconsin Film Festival audiences at early screenings are generally downright giddy. This especially applies to those who head to the Orpheum's main room, which welcomes gigantic crowds for the festival's higher profile films. The energy created by such a crowd is contagious and diametrically different from what you'll find at a typical cinemaplex on a Friday night.
The vibe from those waiting in the long line that stretched up State and around the corner of Dayton to get into Bon Cop, Bad Cop Friday night was gleeful. With temps in the 50s, film festers were just as thrilled to be able to stand outside without four layers of polar fleece as they were to be taking in a night of independent film.
The film itself, a Canadian buddy romp with substantial hints of Lethal Weapon, was a blast, if a little cliche. Its distinguishing feature, hinted at in the title, is that it's bilingual. The two main characters are police officers, one from Ontario and the other from Quebec. In addition to speaking different languages, they comprise a Canadian odd couple, with the Quebecer assuming the role of the disheveled bruiser and the Toronto cop playing the buttoned-down Felix Unger part.
The plot involves a serial killer looking for vengeance on pro hockey bigwigs responsible for moving teams to U.S. cities. That, coupled with the cultural conflicts that arise between the Quebecers and Ontarians, pairs a light-hearted social commentary element with the usual menu of explosions, car chases and gun fights expected out of most cop movies. A scene featuring a stalking killer in a beaver costume tops the whole thing off with some slapstick.
Festival director Meg Hamel announced she had capped tickets at 1300 for the film, making it the biggest crowd for a screening she had seen in the festival's ten years.