Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Grand Seduction (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“The Grand Seduction”
Will Do Just That

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Some small towns are in danger of simply drying up and blowing away. After all, North America is riddled with ghost towns as testament to this fact.

But how can today’s town fathers counter this?

One solution is to bring in industry. A factory, say.

That’s the plan of Tickle Cove, a small harbor town that wants to recruit a factory to save it from financial collapse. Most of its 125 denizens live on government welfare checks, no longer fishing now that the cod are gone.

But as we discover in “The Grand Seduction” -- the comedy that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema -- convincing a new petrochemical recycling plant to set up shop in Tickle Cove requires a “package.” You see, when a major business brings new workers to a town, it needs certain amenities.

Mainly, a town doctor.

So the self-appointed new mayor Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) sets out to find the town a doctor. He finagles Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) into serving out a month of mandated community service in Tickle Cove, but how does one turn this temporary position into a permanent residency?

That’s where the title comes in -- The Grand Seduction.

The town tries its best to please Dr. Lewis so that he’ll stay. The tactics: Auction off a virgin? Offer a little bribery? Suck up to the doctor in a big way?

Unfortunately, the good doctor is a city slicker who loves jazz and cricket, hates fishing, and has a perfectly good fiancée waiting for him back home.

Will the seduction work?

Well, this is a heartwarming comedy.

Actually, it’s a remake of a 2003 Québécois  film called “Seducing Dr. Lewis” (French title: “La grande seduction”).

Switching the new film’s locale from the French-speaking village Ste-Marie-la-Mauderne on the north coast of Quebec to Tickle Cove in Newfoundland was an inconsequential shift -- other than the lack of subtitles. And the beautiful scenery. The story remains the same.

Irish-born Brendan Gleeson (“In Burges,” “Braveheart”) is always a charming character actor. Taylor Kitsch comes off as warm and likeable (a resurrection from his “John Carter” disaster with Disney). And Gordon Pinsent (TV’s “Barbar”) won Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the Canadian Screen Awards for this movie.

Yes, you will be seduced in grand style by “The Grand Seduction.”

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