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Grand Seduction, The


Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, Rhonda Rodgers

Director: Don McKellar

This would-be Ealing-style comedy is a remake of a French film, with the locale changed to a small fishing harbour in Newfoundland, although with Gleeson in the lead, you'd be forgiven for a while for assuming the pretty vistas come from the coast of Ireland.

As it is, the village of Tickle Head is down to about 100 residents and dying on its feet. Its only hope of survival is the building of a petro-chemical bi-product recycling facility, which will provide work for everyone - but Tickle Head must have a doctor before the plan can get the go-ahead. And it hasn't.

There's also the problem of a huge bribe the big company requires from the good people of Tickle Head, but at least a solution to the doctor problem may be on the horizon, with the arrival of Paul (Kitsch), a Canadian medic sentenced to a month's community service at the village for possession of cocaine.

The fisherfolk redecorate and reinvent the village, pretend to love Paul's great passion, cricket (as they play on the edge of a cliff, it's amazing the ball stays on dry land), give him a full surgery, tell him that a local girl (Balaban) fancies him (she doesn't) and convince him he's caught a big fish that's actually been retrieved from the deep freeze.

I suppose there must be Canadian doctors keen on cricket, but that's just one of the unlikely plot devices in a film whose 'real' village life, despite jolly squeezebox music on the soundtrack and pretty Technicolor photography on location in Newfoundland, seems as artificial as the one the villagers invent for the doctor's benefit. It's tolerable if occasionally tedious late summer entertainment.

David Quinlan

Canada 2013. UK Distributor: Enetretainment One. Technicolor.
112 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 25 Aug 2014