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With: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, Anna Hopkins, Rhonda Rodgers
Written by: Michael Dowse, Ken Scott
Directed by: Don McKellar
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive material and drug references
Running Time: 113
Date: 05/30/2014

The Grand Seduction (2014)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

A 'Seduction' Without Love

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A remake of a French-Canadian movie, Seducing Doctor Lewis (2003), The Grand Seduction fits squarely into the template of The Full Monty and its many copies. In other words, it's a cutesy, quirky comedy-drama about a working-class community that works together to find a solution in the face of hardship. Certainly this formula works sometimes, in some movies, but as directed by Don McKellar (Last Night), The Grand Seduction seems more bent on following the formula than developing any actual characters or connections.

In the tiny harbor of Tickle Cove, a once-thriving fishing industry has dried up, and now the locals, including Murray (Brendan Gleeson), glumly collect welfare checks. There's a chance that a factory could set up shop and save the town, but several requirements must be fulfilled, including securing a doctor for the town. When plastic surgeon and cricket enthusiast Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) is caught with cocaine at the airport, his punishment is community service in Tickle Cove. And so Murray and his neighbors have one month to convince Paul to stay permanently; their plan involves elaborate ruses such as setting up a fake cricket team and arranging for Paul to catch his first fish. But Murray slowly realizes that lies are not enough.

The big city doctor makes a huge and unlikely transformation over the course of the movie; when he decides to stay, his decision rings false. Likewise, his relationship with Murray is forced, and both characters are forced into a father/son-type connection. The only cliche the movie avoids is a potential romance between the doctor and pretty Liane Balaban, a choice that feels equally false. All in all, it's a bland movie with no idea how to communicate its agendas.

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