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Playing the Angler: A small Canadian fishing town turns on the charm to woo a Montreal doctor (David Boutin).

Medical Magnets

Provincial Canadians will stop at nothing to get good health care in 'Seducing Dr. Lewis'

By Richard von Busack

THROUGH A THICK LAYER of nostalgia, old Germain (Raymond Bouchard) recalls the happier days when his insignificant fishing village on the island of St. Marie-La-Mauderne, Quebec, had some life to it. People fished for 14 hours a day, true. But when the boats came in, they came home, ate their fish dinners, went upstairs, got in bed with their wives, smoked their cigarettes and had a good night's sleep afterward.

Today, trawlers and overfishing have taken their toll, and the town is Layabout City. Inertia reigns supreme. Traffic heads straight to the post office for the collection of welfare checks. The men are so unmanned by unemployment that they don't even notice that Eve the postmistress (Lucie Laurier) is a serious babe. They go to the bank, cash their checks and head straight to the bar.

As de facto mayor, Germain decides to look into a scheme to lure a factory to St. Marie. The company is only interested in relocating if there's a doctor in the village, and so Germain and his buddies get together to petition for a doctor to come to the town. They reel in Dr. Christopher Lewis (David Boutin), a disenchanted plastic surgeon sick of elective surgeries and implants. Trying to keep him in town they use subterfuge, which threatens to turn the homely, honest villagers into poseurs.

Jean-François Pouliot's comedy was a local hit in Quebec. The film has instances that recall the work of Bill Forsyth, especially in Local Hero. On the whole, however, Seducing Dr. Lewis is labored and fearfully cute. Pouliot, a career-long director of TV commercials, encourages a lot of mugging from his cast and misstages some elemental comedy scenes, such as the ever-favorite gag about the boss looking down his secretary's cleavage. This is a film strictly for people who long to see another Waking Ned Devine.

Seducing Dr. Lewis (Unrated; 95 min.), directed by Jean-François Pouliot, written by Ken Scott, photographed by Allen Smith and starring David Boutin and Raymond Bouchard, opens Friday at selected theaters.

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From the August 4-10, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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