From the small northern island of Ste. Marie-La Mauderne in Quebec, Canada
comes this low budget British-style comedy. Think "The Full Monty" wherein a
group of working class blokes whose steel factory shut down got together to
solve their problem of unemployment while producing some laughs.
Here, it's a fishing village whose fish stock has been depleted, putting
these hard working villagers on the dole. Since they think well of
themselves only when they're earning a living, they are miserable and
mortified as they line up for their weekly checks, even though the gal who
distributes them at the post office, Eve Beauchemin (Lucie Laurier) is a
world class beauty. But more about her later.
The source of hope is that a company is considering building a factory on the
island, a development that would bring back employment and happiness to the
prideful inhabitants. The potential deal-breaker, however, is that the
investors' insurer requires a doctor in residence and there's no such thing
in this isolated enclave. The closest medical practitioner to be found would
be across the pond in the big city.
Coincidentally, a serendipitous highway infraction with a community service
option allows young, handsome plastic surgeon Christopher Lewis (David
Boutin) to be lured to the island for a one month penance. The objective for
town leader Germain Lesage (Raymond Bouchard), his family and his townsfolk,
is to somehow convince the good man to stay for five years.
But Lewis has a girlfriend, a practice and a life at home. Eve's beauty,
(see, I promised you more on her) is an attraction, and while he's not above
a little flirtation, the romance potential can't be realized while things are
so cozy for the doctor with his hometown sweetie. Eve's a bit standoffish
because she knows about the girlfriend. There are no secrets on these
I hate to get picky but the manipulations of this story line wrap it in a fog
of unintended fantasy. Okay, so we know that a handsome, eligible doctor
isn't going to move to a dying community on a permanent basis without a
beautiful available woman in the picture. To furnish this essential
ingredient, Eve is injected not only into the framework but on the posters to
help sell the movie. But her brief screen time isn't enough to allow her to
steal the show because this isn't a love story. She's little more than an
unattached presence with no family, no ties, no history and out of place.
She's the bait in a fish story -- for the protagonist as well as the
If you go along with it, there are a few rib ticklers in the chicanery that
Germain puts the town through to make the doctor become attached to the
place. He and his plotting cohorts come up with a phony cricket match to
satisfy Dr. Lewis' sports preference (a Keystone Kops moment), followed by
planting a dollar bill for him to "luckily" find every night in the same
spot; then they quickly add an item to the menu of a local diner that they
discover (through tapping his phone!) to be his favorite; and, they even
resort to that worn clich‚ of manually hooking a "catch" of frozen fish on
his line, etc. All the deception is with good intentions (so it's all right)
and plenty of snags are thrown into the grand plan to keep the tide of
interest up. It's performed by a group of characters who range from dull to
spirited, from local first-timers to a sprinkling of pros.
Despite awkward moments of staging and character schtick, first-time director
Jean-Francois Pouliot, with a script by Ken Scott, attempts a variation on
The Full Monty's message about dignity and self-worth. He comes out with an
endearing comedy for anyone who can disregard contrived writing. Those who
examine it more closely will see it as a poorly crafted fabrication in which
credibility is cast aside when a laugh can be landed. While the actors are
keeping you amused by making the most of the strained premise, the characters
behind the venture are, with a wink, wink, hoping you won't notice their
desperate play for a giggle, a plot line and a marketing gimmick.
~~ Jules Brenner