Seducing Dr Lewis (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Three years since it appeared in the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes, this French-Canadian comedy arrives here garlanded with festival awards and no less than seven Jutras (French-Canadian Oscars), so you could be forgiven for expecting something halfway decent. It concerns the efforts of a tiny, economically depressed island off Quebec to secure a resident doctor so that a factory can be built and save them from ruin. When a city-slicker doctor arrives for a month, the island folk contrive to make their home look so attractive that he will be induced to stay - which is where the "fun" starts, for they pretend to play the doc's favourite sport (cricket) and serve his favourite dish (beef Stroganoff) at the local café. Of course their clueless stratagems keep backfiring, although from the stony silence that reigned at the press screening I'm guessing this culture-clash comedy won't translate here. Which is a roundabout way of saying that it's calamitously unfunny and completely unendearing. The model is Local Hero's gentle satire of corporatism bested by rural canniness, but when it comes with this much mugging and gurning it feels less like a movie and more like an endurance test.

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