Corner Gas is one of the most popular Canadian sitcoms of all time. The show, created by and starring comedian Brent Butt, ran from 2004 to 2009 and chronicled the comedic misadventures of an array of characters living in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan.
Although the comedy has been off the air for years it’s still managed to maintain a strong fan base. Now, back by popular demand, the original cast from the show has reunited to make Corner Gas The Movie. Although it received a limited theatrical run (Dec. 3-8th) most fans will have their first opportunity to see the full feature length film when it’s released on DVD on December 16th or the next evening when it’s broadcast on CTV.
Corner Gas The Movie offers no big surprises, revelations, or shocking insights but rather remains true to the spirit of the original series. At a time when the television landscape is littered with shows preceded by various parental warnings heralding adult content and offensive language Corner Gas provides a much needed breath of fresh air. The humor hits all the marks without being cloying or full of sexual innuendo or toilet humor (Two and a Half Men it ain’t).
Part of the appeal of Corner Gas is that the characters are relatable, down to earth, and approachable. They come across as real people rather than actors. Brent Butt, a native of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, portrays the central character of Brent Leroy, a gas station owner who’s more interested in reading comic books and eating chili dogs than conquering the world. Gabrielle Miller co-stars as Lacey, the owner and operator of Dog River’s favorite eatery, Ruby’s Diner. Nancy Robertson is on board as the always entertaining and unpredictable Wanda, a clerk at Corner Gas. The cast is rounded out by fellow Saskatchewan born actor Eric Peterson (also known for his role in the Canadian law drama Street Legal 1987-1994) as Oscar, Brent’s irritable father, Janet Wright (who also grew up in the prairie province), as his mother, Lorne Cardinal and Tara Spencer-Nairn, as the town’s bumbling cops, and Fred Ewanuick as Hank, a lovable loser with good intentions but seemingly no job or adult responsibilities.
The narrative of Corner Gas The Movie is a simple one involving what happens when the town of Dog River goes broke and local citizens must cope with issues such as power outages and water shortages. The storyline feels as if the writers took enough material to make one or two regular half hour episodes and then spun them out to fill about 90 minutes on the big screen. Once residents realize the seriousness of their town’s predicament chaos ensues as they are faced with the choice of either packing up and allowing the town to be bought up by big donut (?) or staying put and fighting for the survival of their quaint hometown.
Corner Gas the Movie hits all the right notes in terms of appealing to its fan base. Its brand of family friendly humor might even attract some new viewers in search of comedic material suitable for audiences of all ages. More than anything, however, the film serves as a thank you to the legions of fans of this distinctly Canadian sitcom who’ve demanded to see more of their favorite prairie dwellers. Corner Gas fans are also sure to enjoy the extra features included on the DVD. These include a blooper reel, commentary, behind the scenes footage, and theme song sing-a-long.