Saturday movie review: 'The Grand Seduction'

The title makes you wonder, doesn't it? Well, have no fear: I'm not delving into racy and raunchy films for review, I promise. Nope. In fact, THE GRAND SEDUCTION is likely one of the least racy films you'll ever see — and likely one of the most whimsical, too.

 The Grand Seduction

THE GRAND SEDUCTION, a remake of the 2003 French Canadian (Quebec) film SEDUCING DR. LEWIS, takes place in rural Newfoundland in a fishing village in economic dire straits. In order to get a contract for a factory to be built in the tiny village of Tickle Head — a factory that will employ the village residents — there must be a doctor in full-time residence. So the villagers, led by long-time resident Murray French (Brendan Gleeson), go to outlandish yet seemingly necessary measures to lure Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) into falling in love with the village and the opportunity to be its official doctor, thus providing work for the villagers and saving Tickle Head from ruin. 

I've adored Brendan Gleeson since falling in love with IN BRUGES (and others) and have rooted for Taylor Kitsch to find stardom after his long run in the amazing "Friday Night Lights" series, so when I came across THE GRAND SEDUCTION on Netflix, it was a must-see. Immediately upon pressing play on the DVD, the charming and humorous story plus the excellent cast drew me in then kept me intrigued throughout — and chuckling aloud through much of it. The humorous vibe was reminiscent in many ways of 1988's FUNNY FARM mixed with heavy sprinklings of 1997's THE FULL MONTY minus the song and dance.

While the stars provided much of the humor — often funny moments that shed light on human nature, regardless of culture or location — the supporting cast and extras were largely responsible for the comedic bits related to the Newfoundland lifestyle. Most of those roles went to actual Newfoundland residents, so just the accents and vocabulary alone were quite funny at times. Especially amusing were scenes involving talk of and attempts to play the game of cricket, which the villagers knew nothing about but needed to make Dr. Lewis believe they were star players and super fans of the sport.

The location was lovely, the love story subtly sweet instead of a bang-viewers-over-the-head sort. The words charming and fun best describe the village, the story, the interaction between characters. Actually, those two words best describe the entire film.

Directed by Don McKellar based on a script by Michael Dowse and Ken Scott, THE GRAND SEDUCTION has earned numerous Canadian film awards and nominations, including a nomination by the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Picture 2014 and a win as Best Motion Picture in the 2014 Genie Awards.

Following is an interview with the stars of THE GRAND SEDUCTION, preceded by a funny scene from the film wherein a couple of villagers work together to ensure wannabe fisherman Dr. Lewis snags a fish... albeit a frozen one, straight from one villager's freezer:

THE GRAND SEDUCTION (rated PG-13 "for some suggestive material and drug references") was released theatrically in the U.S. in May 2014 and is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and digitally.