|Men With Brooms: Curling's Funniest 104 Minutes|
I laughed at the opening of Men With Brooms. I mean, you walk in and sit down. You know you paid to see a movie about curling. Curling consists of two teams of four guys and two brooms who each try to get a 42-pound rock to a "button" at either end of a big sheet of ice. Rather grandiose music starts playing, and the opening title comes onscreen. One. Word. At. A. Time. Then come the beavers and the guy with the bagpipes…
Men With Brooms chronicles the reunion of a near-championship curling team from the fictional town of Long Bay, Ontario, at the behest of their former, now deceased Coach Foley. The members of the Long Bay team seem like Canada's biggest bunch of losers -- a drug dealer, a mortician, a guy with a single digit sperm count trying to impregnate his wife and a leader who calls himself a naked cheater. Their mission: win curling's coveted Golden Broom trophy and keep their collective lives from getting knocked through the ice. Their secret weapon: the coach's ashes in their final curling stone.
Men With Brooms doesn't give us anything new in the way of plot. You could probably lift the framework of it and fit it over any romantic comedy featuring sport. However, the characters speak with truth and humor and heart, due in large part to the fine script by Paul Gross and John Krizanc. The movie's real story lies in the internal dynamics of a small town trying to keep up with progress while retaining its identity. Toward this goal, Gross and Krizanc wrote a dozen wonderful characters and matched them to actors who made them live and breath beautifully.
The four men playing the curling team (Jim Allodi, Jed Rees, Peter Outerbridge and Paul Gross) give wonderfully honest and hilarious performances. The two sisters (Michelle Nolden and Molly Parker) beautifully convey the complex relationship between siblings, spanning love and hate, jealousy and heartbreak.
But wait, back to the funny stuff. There are the beavers, yes. They show up at the most inopportune times. This loving send-up of Canadian iconography makes Men With Brooms a uniquely Canadian film.
A classic sleeper in the making, Men With Brooms probably won't win any big awards. Unfortunately, it may not even get US distribution according to producer Robert Lantos. The man who brought the world such films as The Black Robe shopped this film around with little success. Everyone he talked to called the film "too Canadian."
To be honest, that's the reason I loved it. Of course, I admit to a great fondness for our neighbors to the north. By the way, if anyone needs me, they can find me down the street, listening to the movie soundtrack and getting a beaver tattoo.
Click here to read Jenny Buehler's interview with Paul Gross.
Click here to read Jenny Buehler's review of Love and Carnage, a CD by Paul Gross and David Keeley of the Broadway cast of Mamma Mia.
Click here to share your views.