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article imageReview: ‘The Grand Seduction’ is filled with delightful intrigue Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 30, 2014 in Entertainment
‘The Grand Seduction’ is an enchanting comedy about a small village’s attempt to beguile a young doctor into staying on permanently by fabricating an elaborate web of lies.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The residents of Tickle Head swallowed their pride long ago when the fishing community lost its main source of income and began to rely on monthly welfare cheques to pay the bills. When there's an opportunity for the whole harbour to turn things around, they vow to do everything in their power to make sure it happens. The Grand Seduction involves creatively securing a key component to their success: a resident doctor.
For the 120 residents of Tickle Head, Nfld, their salvation rests with an application requesting a factory be built in their village. However there are two obstacles standing in their way: they need a full-time physician and a large sum of money to match the offer of a competing town. The latter may be easier to come by since they’ve been searching for a doctor for eight years. But opportunity finally comes knocking when Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch), a young plastic surgeon, agrees to a one-month trial as their physician and impromptu mayor Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) schemes to make his stay permanent.
It's not that this type of comedy is new — in fact, this is a remake of a Quebecois film — but after being popular in the 1980s, it's a style that is not often seen anymore. Almost the entire town participates in the plot to convince the big city doctor of the benefits of living in a small community. However, not blind to how much of an uphill battle that could be, they also eavesdrop on his phone conversations to appropriate his likes and dislikes. The results are a crash course in cricket, though much to Paul's dismay the local season ends the day of his arrival; a chicken dhansak festival at the pub; and the assurance that occasional cocaine use is accepted.
What the film is missing in originality, it makes up for in an abundance of charm. Murray and his best friend Simon (played exquisitely by Gordon Pinsent) are a great pair. Together they orchestrate the whole ruse, deviating from the plan and improvising whenever necessary. For example when Paul wants a closer look at the fake cricket game, Murray must warn the players of their approach and Simon must figure out how to pretend more believably. The solution is perfectly hilarious. Their chief partners in crime are the two female phone operators who transcribe all of the doctor's conversations — even the dirty ones.
While Kitsch may attract a younger audience, they're less likely to appreciate the subtle humour so expertly weaved throughout this picture. The talent assembled has excellent comedic timing and a thorough understanding of the type of community they are portraying. Combined, they create a highly enjoyable, somewhat peculiar, down-to-earth little movie that will please most audiences.
Director: Don McKellar
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Brendan Gleeson and Gordon Pinsent
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