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