Any similarities to Northern Exposure are undoubtedly coincidental, but the comparison is entirely apt. This Canadian fish-out-of-water tale, in which a cosmopolitan young doctor is seduced into taking a job in an eccentric small town is just as quirky and charming as the TV show, but minus its occasional smugness. Once a proud and productive fishing village, Sainte-Marie-La-Mauderne has fallen on hard times. The fish supply has dried up and for the past eight years the townsfolk have subsisted on government subsidy checks, chunks of which invariably wind up in the till of the local bar. Many residents have already moved away to the city, and even Mayor Real (Jean-Pierre Gonthier) has surreptitiously taken a job with the Provincial Police, leaving the elderly retired fisherman Germain Lesage (Raymond Bouchard) the de facto head of this dinky, dying village. There is, however, one small glimmer of hope on the horizon. A plastic container company is considering building a new factory right in town, but insurers require that the town have a doctor in residence; Sainte-Marie-La-Mauderne hasn't been home to a working physician in over 15 years. Desperate for the chance to get his town back on its feet, Germain sends out job offers to every MD in Quebec, but gets no response. Just when it seems as if all is lost, a plastic surgeon named Christopher Lewis (David Boutin) is pulled over for speeding by the newly sworn-in Officer Real, who, in a twist right out DOC HOLLYWOOD, arranges a deal with the young physician: He can either talk to a judge about all the cocaine he's carrying, or move to Sainte-Marie-La-Mauderne for a one-month trial period. Eager to make a good impression and get the good doctor to sign on permanently, the residents set about fixing up their town as best they can; once they learn that Dr. Lewis is a huge cricket enthusiast, Germain even pulls together a mock team so that as his boat approaches the shore he'll see his favorite sport being played in his new temporary home. And just to make sure that the townsfolk stay on top of his likes and dislikes, they tap his phone and the serious seducing gets underway. Briskly directed by Jean-Francois Pouliot, the film has made a strong showing at a number of film festivals, including Sundance, Cannes and Toronto, and managed to outgross Hollywood's biggest blockbusters of 2003 in its native Quebec. It's hardly surprising: Sweet but never saccharine, Ken Scott's screenplay reworks the same fantasy of the forgotten working class regaining its dignity through its own ingenuity that made the THE FULL MONTY such an enormous success.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: Any similarities to Northern Exposure are undoubtedly coincidental, but the comparison is entirely apt. This Canadian fish-out-of-water tale, in which a cosmopolitan young doctor is seduced into taking a job in an eccentric small town is just as quirky and… (more)