The Grand Seduction review: the craggy veterans steal the show

Film Title: The Grand Seduction

Director: Don McKellar

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Brendan Gleeson, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 113 min

Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 00:00

   

If you’re looking for a Canadian variation on Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero starring Brendan Gleeson and somebody out of John Carter, then you need search no longer.

Adapted from a French-Canadian film called Seducing Dr Lewis, Don McKellar’s comedy exhibits a touching belief in vanished small-town values. It reaches further back than Local Hero to ancient comedies such as Whiskey Galore! as it celebrates craftiness, canniness and creative dishonesty. It is absurdly sentimental and just a little reactionary. Very little that happens is even remotely plausible. But Gleeson & co manage to make something modestly entertaining out of the enterprise. It’s a close run thing. But the ship just about avoids Twee Reef on its passage to the port.

We are introduced to the inhabitants of a small Newfoundland village called (oh dear) Tickle Head. The fishing market has collapsed, so the men of the locale get by on social welfare and the odd bit of benign fraud. Then they learn that there is a possibility that a chemical firm may wish to locate to the area.

But there’s only one problem. (Stay with us. It’s about to get a great deal less plausible.) The firm will not place its plant in the Head unless there is a full-time doctor in the village. After various drug-related shenanigans, physician and cricket fan Taylor Kitsch is lured to the area. Now can they persuade him to stay?

Forget about the bland romance between Kitsch and Liane Balaban. This is all about duels between rugged veterans. Cheery Gleeson and craggy Gordon Pinset steal the show. There are worse things than cinematic warm blankets.