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Movie review: Gentleness of 'Grand Seduction' undercuts its own humor

Published July 17, 2014 3:12 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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 Friday, July 18, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and drug references; 113 minutes.