Movie review: Gentleness of ‘Grand Seduction’ undercuts its own humor
Published: July 17, 2014 03:12PM
Updated: July 18, 2014 11:28AM
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| Entertainment One Local resident Murray French (Brendan Gleeson, left) introduces city doctor Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) to the harbor town of Tickle Head, Newfoundland, in the comedy "The Grand Seduction."

The Canadian comedy “The Grand Seduction” is too laid-back for its own good, but it’s not without its whimsical charms.

In the tiny harbor of Tickle Head, Newfoundland, workers who used to fish for a living now collect welfare checks or move to jobs in the city, St. John’s. The town’s only hope is to lure a petrochemical plant, but the oil company’s insurance requires the town have a doctor in residence.

The town lucks out when Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) is caught at the St. John’s airport with cocaine in his luggage and, to avoid a drug charge, he agrees to spend a month in Tickle Head. It’s up to the mischievous Murray French (Brendan Gleeson), the town’s mayor, to orchestrate an effort to make Lewis fall in love with the town — going as far as tapping his phone to learn his interests, which include cricket and jazz-fusion music.

Director Don McKellar (who made the apocalyptic “Last Night”) takes a low-key approach to the script, written by Michael Dowse and Ken Scott (“Delivery Man”), who adapted from Scott’s 2003 French-Canadian film “Seducing Dr. Lewis.” It’s so low-key, in fact, that the gentle mood sometimes undercuts the jokes.

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‘The Grand Seduction’

Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and drug references; 113 minutes.