A damsel in distress, a femme fatale and a fake detective, plus video games, guns and Tim Hortons coffee make up the key elements of No Clue — a comedic detective movie based around a key misunderstanding. A woman, Kyra (Amy Smart), walks into the office of Leo Falloon (Corner Gas’s Brent Butt, who also wrote the script) and claims that she needs his detective skills to solve the case of her missing brother. Leo can barely get in a word during this exchange. The next day, he is sitting and talking with his best friend, Ernie (David Koechner) who asks him why he didn’t tell her tha t he isn’t a real detective. Leo is a salesman, not a private eye. Thus begins the fish-out-of-water story.
It’s a clever concept. The make-believe detective takes the case, mostly because of his attraction to Kyra — who is hiding secrets of her own. Along the way he encounters various video-game developers, a femme fatale (Kirsten Prout), betrayal, guns and a central mystery that just maybe works out in the end. There are also a ton of laughs. It has been a while since I’ve seen a comedy this funny.
Given that the film’s star and writer is Brent Butt, you’ll likely know going in what type of comedy he’s going for, especially if you’re a fan of Corner Gas — although there are no cutaway gags. The movie is clean, it is low-key and it subverts expectations, hitting far more often than not. The speed at which jokes are fired ensures that you’re going to be laughing throughout. However, in order to understand some of the jokes, you will need a basic understanding of the conventions of detective movies. No Clue either pays homage or makes fun of them. It also has many references to older works. Do the words The Glass Key mean anything to you?
No Clue is very Canadian, but so was Corner Gas. A lot of movies are filmed in Vancouver but they’re not often set there. This one is. Tim Hortons coffee cups are frequently seen. A few jokes are based on the Canadian-ness of the setting and characters.
No Clue is exceptionally funny. It has a very high laugh-per-minute ratio. It’s clever, smart and has an interesting, if intentionally derivative, plot. It works as both a send up and a critique of detective movies and if you have watched more than a couple of those, you’ll get more out of this film. It’s rare that you’ll find a must-see Canadian film, but this might just be it. If you’re a fan of detective movies or Corner Gas, you owe it to yourself to check out No Clue.