nirvanna the band the show

Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrolCanada75 minutes201614AColourB&WEnglish

Can-con bad boy Matt Johnson (The Dirties, Operation Avalanche) and co-conspirator Jay McCarrol revive their cult-hit web series about a hapless two-piece Toronto band who will do anything to play a show at The Rivoli — apart from actually writing and rehearsing any actual songs.

It's all about one perfect gig. Matt and Jay are best friends and bandmates who live out their days playing videogames and consuming media, while dreaming of performing at their favourite Toronto club, the Rivoli. In lieu of actually writing music, however, the two attempt to garner attention via various other schemes, such as building a demonic float for the city's Santa Claus Parade or shooting a renegade film project in a high school. If only they could focus long enough to work on their set list.

Based on the popular web series created by and starring Jay McCarrol and Matt Johnson (who also directs), nirvanna the band the show is a celebration of popular culture, social absurdity, and friendship. Now moving to Primetime, with Vice and executive producer Spike Jonze along for the ride, the show sees its dynamic duo bumbling their way through various adventures with a naïveté that's sometimes politically incorrect but always endearing.

Johnson's first foray into television directing displays all of the creativity we've come to expect from the director of the features The Dirties and Operation Avalanche. Utilizing techniques developed in such hit comedy shows as Jackass and The Ali G Show, nirvanna the band the show seamlessly blends its fictional stories with real-world interactions too hilariously authentic to be scripted. The result is an ingenious brand of comedy that plays with flashbacks, genres, and self-reflexivity. It's peppered with a plethora of film and TV references, and propelled by a charming youthful energy that will appeal to hipsters of all ages.

MICHAEL LERMAN