The first year I programmed for Cinequest, I had little impact. I think three films I watched during screening made it in. One was a comedy, and a really good one, about a small animal Vet. It was called Small Emergencies, and it’s still one of my all-time favorite comedy shorts.
Remember back when making a faux documentary was at least a bit novel. Yeah, we’d had This is Spinal Tap and a few others, but we hadn’t been handed The Office or Modern Family yet. Heck, Blair Witch was only a couple of years in the rear-view. The idea here is that we’re coming into the world of a vet who specializes in mice, lizards, snakes, hamsters, goldfish, and the like. The way it’s set-up, it feels more like E.R. than one of those Emergency Room A&E shows, which makes our slightly-clueless, but perfectly timed hero a sort of goofy George Clooney, which helps the short over all. His chain-smoking, bitter nurse is an equally well-done addition. The best gag, one that had the entire audience in an uproar in the theatre, has the strings clearly visible, and yet it works HARD!
Watching this with 15+ years of distance, I can’t help but compare it to the nearly-decent-and-cancelled series Animal Practice. In less than seven minutes, Small Emergencies delivers as many laughs as that entire series did over its one season… even if it didn’t have Joanna Garcia Swisher in it.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.