Thursday, June 19, 2014

A little town that needs saving

It's difficult to imagine that the makers of The Grand Seduction -- a comedy set in the tiny Newfoundland town of Tickle Cove -- could have created a more predictable movie if they tried. With the fishing industry dead, Tickle Cove finds itself badly in need of an economic boost. Bearish Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) decides he'll try to succeed where others have failed: He takes on the job of bringing a petrochemical recycling plant to Tickle Cove, a development that could restore the town's viability. To seal the deal, Tickle Cove needs a full-time doctor. Through a totally improbable plot twist involving cocaine, a young plastic surgeon (Taylor Kitsch) is coerced into spending a month among the supposedly colorful locals. For its part, the town creates a faux welcoming environment to persuade the poor doctor to sign on as a full-time resident. The townsfolk love hockey: Kitsch's character is a cricket enthusiast. Obligingly, the men of the town feign an interest in cricket, even forming a team. Everyone caters to the young doctor. Gleeson seems a whale among minnows. Kitsch supplies good looks, charm and amiability. There's enough humor here to give The Grand Seduction crowd-pleasing appeal, but this remake of the Quebec-based comedy Seducing Dr. Lewis (2003) makes the colorful and peculiar seem entirely formulaic.

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