A small-town Canadian comedy that’s so intricately plotted and unlikely that it verges on the exotic, “The Grand Seduction” is nevertheless a hoot.
Directed by Don McKellar, who made one of the best end-of-the-world movies, “Last Night,” it benefits from a simple, whimsical premise: A harbor village is in such desperate financial shape that its leaders will play almost any game to snag their own doctor, required to gain a lucrative business contract.
It’s the complications that may raise an eyebrow or two: elaborately faked cricket games, phony fishing expeditions, bold blackmail at Customs, electronic eavesdropping on a National Security Agency scale, geezer jokes that rely on something like sign language to fly.
Often suggesting the rural charm of a 21st-century “Local Hero,” the movie is a showcase for gifted comics, including Brendan Gleeson as the town’s chief mischief-maker; Gordon Pinsent as a whisker-covered malcontent; and the self-deprecating hunk Taylor Kitsch, who could be branded for life (in a nice way) with a line like “No one has cheekbones like that.”
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John Hartl: email@example.com