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Peepers: voyeurism takes a turn for the funny in clever Montreal comedy

"I'm not a pervert, Shelley. An observer, a witness, a watcher from the shadows." That’s how one of the Mile End voyeurs in rooftop crawler comedy Peepers defends his creepy, if highly regulated habit to his sister. 

With this sharply written farce about bored, lowbrow dudes who brave stormy weather to experience “the perfect peep”, local production company Automatic Vaudeville offers up the latest in a fine sampling of recent Anglo-Montreal comedies about off-kilter characters (Who is KK Downey?, The Trotsky). The story centers around a group of losers-in-denial (including a most fittingly mustachioed ringleader) who spend the better part of their evenings on Montreal rooftops taking window-shopping to a whole new level.

On the prowl for “big booty buffets” and “hottie hookups”, their binocular-assisted shenanigans suddenly become the focus of one female college professor’s so-called field work. She begins to drop in on the horned-up gang to expand on the voyeur theory she’s been teaching her ever-so keen pupils. A clash of the titans-worthy battle then ensues in the Peeping Tom underworld to see who, of the lady teacher and the dirty stache man, will be crowned king of the peepers.

After a sold-out Montreal premiere on Wednesday at the Just for Laughs Film Festival, a second showing has been added to the line-up this weekend, and it’s easy to see why. For one, the film features an assortment of your favourite Canuck screen talent, chief among these Joe Cobden (I'm Not There), Paul Spence (Fubar), Ricky Mabe (Zack and Miri Make a Porno and The Trotsky), Dan Beirne (The Bitter End and our Class of 2010) and Jessica Paré (Lost and Delirious and Stardom).

Screenwriters Seth W. Owen, Daniel Perlmutter and Mark Slutsky go to great lengths to flesh out their outlandish subculture and fully exploit its potential for comedy. They delve into the guys’ gung-ho code of conduct (no filming, no wanking, no peeping on other peepers or falling for a peep, among other rules), lingo (“I really thought that MILF was going to drop trou,” says one disappointed peeper) and they don’t shy away from a few fitting nods to the cinematic references on the subject – Peeping Tom and Rear Window.

But forget about wheelchair-bound murder scenarios. This one’s all about wishful thinking and momentary glimpses of exposed flesh. And it just might make you think twice before disrobing near a window of any kind. Unless you're an exhibitionist (or "shower" in peeper lingo), in which case the rooftop pervs would tell you to just get a room.


Just for Laughs Film Festival 
Sunday, July 18, 7 p.m.
1564, St-Denis