Tom (Fabrizio Filippo) is the jaded narrator of this witty urban psychodrama set in downtown Calgary, Canada. He and three co-workers, to relieve the boredom of their jobs, have concocted a game whereby the person who can stay the longest inside the city's indoor walking system consisting of offices, stores, restaurants, and apartments, wins $10,000.
On the 24th day of the competition, Tom begins the day smoking some marijuana in his car in a garage to take the edge off his morning. He makes some lame conversation with Brad (Don McKellar), the neurotic worker whose cubicle is next to his. Sandra (Marya Delver), another player, has just been promoted, and one of the tasks of her new position is to follow around the head of the firm, who is a kleptomaniac, just to make sure he doesn't get in too much trouble. Tom plays a mind game on Sandra by telling her that the ventilated air inside the buildings and walkways is toxic. Suddenly she is gasping for air and reduced to sniffing perfume ads from a magazine as a respite from the poisons.
The ever playful Tom pulls a fast one on Curt (Gordon Currie), another player, and he, in turn, seduces Vicki (Jennifer Clement), a vulnerable co-worker who's engaged to be married. And downstairs in the lobby, Randy (Tobias Godsen), the final player in the game, dreams up animal names for people passing him in the mall.
Lord Tweedsmuir once noted: "I would be content with any job, however thankless, in any quarter, however remote, if I had the chance of making a corner of the desert blossom and a solitary place glad." Such a spiritual understanding of vocation is out of the question for the four cynical and calculating players in Waydowntown. Meaning for them is only found in the little conspiratorial acts of defiance against the corporate world they detest.
Writer and director Gary Burns has fashioned an inventive and engaging film about the soulless settings for work in the modern city. Tom has an ant farm on a shelf near his desk and it is an appropriate metaphor for how he feels. These characters yearn for freedom in the maze of cubicles, walkways, surveillance cameras, fast food shops and stores. In perhaps the most daring sequence in this urban psychodrama, Brad, Tom's cubicle mate, in a fit of suicidal depression, staples affirmations to the bare skin of his chest. One of them reads: "Don't make a mess. Make improvements."