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"The Grand Seduction": The Charm of a Small Town Trying to Suck You In 

Wednesday, May 28 2014
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Don McKellar's comedy The Grand Seduction is an English-language remake of the Québécois Seducing Doctor Lewis, with a few hints of Bill Forsythe's Local Hero. Tickle Head, an economically depressed Newfoundland fishing harbor of fewer than 150 people, needs to find a doctor to convince an oil company to establish a job-creating facility in town. Protagonist and de factor mayor Murray (Brendan Gleeson) concocts a plan to lure in hunky city doctor Paul (Taylor Kitsch) and make him fall in love with Tickle Head, mostly by convincing the townsfolk to pretend to like the English sport of cricket, Lamb Dhansak, fusion jazz, and more of Paul's other curiously multicultural interests. The picture is refreshing in its refusal to exalt small-town folk as somehow more noble or pure (The Grand Deception would be a more accurate title), as is its acknowledgment that bringing in an oil company is a Faustian solution at best. Unfortunately, the female characters are a tad undercooked, especially Postmistress Kathleen (Liane Balaban), the town's moral center. Still, The Grand Seduction often works with the logic of a fable — indeed, the final shot is practically begging for "And They All Lived Happily Ever After" — and if certain plot elements don't quite stand up under scrutiny, that's also part of its charm.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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