Seduction in small town Quebec

By Rob Scherf

I’m going to tell you straight up that I’m torn over this review. Part of me wants to rip Seducing Dr. Lewis to shreds because it’s godawfully boring, derivative and just plain unfunny. The other part of me, the angel on my shoulder if you will, is telling me to optimistically support independent Canadian cinema.

Vive Canadiana?

On the picturesque coast of Quebec, the tiny fishing village of St. Marie La Mauderne finds itself out of fish stocks and without employment for most of its 100 citizens. The only way to save the village, it seems, is to entice a plastics factory to move into the area. To do that, the village needs a resident doctor–for some unclear reasons best not questioned by the audience.

So, what’s the best way to get a doctor to move to your shoddy, run down fishing hamlet? Lie to him, of course!

The humble townsfolk, under the leadership of chief burnout/mayor Germain (Raymond Bouchard) create an elaborate fantasy for visiting Dr. Lewis (Quebecois dreamboat David Boutin) trying to convince him that pitiful little St. Marie La Mauderne is the perfect place to live. When he mentions in passing that he likes cricket, the villagers quickly construct a full-blown league for the Doctor’s enjoyment, claiming they’ve been passing the proud colonial game down through their generations forever.

Let me just note here, for readers who are having trouble following along, that the scene is funny because francophone/rural folk hate cricket, while anglophone/city folk love it.

Actually, here’s a quick test to see if you’ll enjoy Seducing Dr. Lewis: do you have several Canadian flag patches on your backpack and/or still laugh about that time FOX added a blue streak to a hockey puck?

If you answered yes to either question, congratulations! No humour is too great to fly over your head. Rush out and see Seducing Dr. Lewis immediately.

The rest of us, however, will be left scratching our heads as to where the comedy is–indeed, the whole move is barely one step above a Martin Lawrence "white people drive like this" routine.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh on veteran television advertisement director Jean-François Pouliot’s first feature film. I mean, the man is only 47 years old and has directed, according to the press pack, over 500 commercials. He’s surely got some room for growth when it comes to the art of comedy.

And it’s not all bad, either. Those of us looking for a movie with which to trick our dates into thinking we’re really sensitive and caring partners may also enjoy Seducing Dr. Lewis. Pouliot’s got more than enough romance to go around, from lengthy montages sketching brave fishermen of old times to new-age yoga babes who practice their art on sunbathed wharves.

Ambivalence has never been so Canadian.

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