The Grand Seduction

Directed By: Don McKellar

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Brendan Gleeson, Liane Balaban, and Gordon Pinsent

My movie reviews are the product of my passion for or against a film.  I know this sounds like a rather mundane, obvious statement, but it's something I see in every piece I pen on a movie.  If I really love or hate a movie, I'll go to bat for it or tear it to shreds.  If, however, I feel nothing for a movie one way or the other, my ensuing review accordingly lacks inspiration.  My intention is not to say that the quality of my reviews suffers when I see a film that leaves me in the middle but that the words don't come quite as easily in these cases.  When it comes to The Grand Seduction, I once again find myself in one of these instances.

The harbor town of Tickle Head boasts a population of 120 hard-working residents who have no work available to sustain themselves.  Living in this remote region, most of the residents live off welfare.  Resident Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) would like to change this.  Murray can recollect much simpler times in Tickle Head when everyone worked and happily made love every night.  In order to get the townspeople jobs, Murray and his buddies need to entice an oil company to open a petrochemical repurposing facility in town.  There are two major hurdles to realizing this, neither of which the town is likely to overcome any time in the near future — a minimum requirement from the oil company of 150 residents and the need for a doctor who resides in the town and would be willing to stay to support the workers at the hazardous facility.  When plastic surgeon Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) gets caught bringing cocaine into an airport by a TSA agent that hails from Tickle Head, chances start looking better for the unemployed of the town by the second.

The Grand Seduction is a charming little film, but it's entirely too predictable.  You'll know how this story will end five minutes into the movie, if not less.  The screenwriters craft a tale where everything fits neatly into the stereotypical Hollywood storyline.  It's so nice and neat that it most definitely feels forced.  As The Grand Seduction progresses, everyone magically realizes true happiness and pride in what they do.  It's downright cheesy.  In this respect, director Don McKellar and his creative team completely drop the ball.

Where the film has some minor success is that its cast gels well.  For his part as Dr. Lewis, Taylor Kitsch plays the stereotypical city boy as he obsesses over cricket, worries about his chihuahua, or tells his fiancée about his well-oiled machine.  Still, his shtick works.  As Kitsch's co-star and the most prominent resident of Tickle Head Murray French, Brendan Gleeson offers equal doses of caustic and charismatic wit in a way only he can.  Fresh from Edge of Tomorrow, the veteran actor hits his mark.  Lastly, Liane Balaban and Gordon Pinsent deliver endearing performances as Kathleen and Simon respectively.

It's pretty clear where I stand on this little indie that could.  The Grand Seduction gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few rounds of gin and tonic with this one.