Dir. Jean-Francois Pouliot , 108 mins

Seducing Doctor Lewis

Alastair Smart
Inhabitants of a poor Canadian island pretend to be cricket-crazy in hope of gaining a resident doctor



Jean-Francois Pouliot once made a film about an egg striving to remain unhatched; now he has hit on an even less likely movie motif: Canadian cricket.

Seducing Doctor Lewis is the story of a poor Canadian island, St Marie-La-Mauderne, whose inhabitants' hopes of gaining a plastics factory depend on their having a resident doctor. The trouble is they cannot find one who will put up with their weird food, décor and skin-growths - that is, until a cricket loving, Montreal medic appears. The aptly named Dr Chris Lewis arrives on a month's trial and his hosts do everything to make him feel at home - even pretending to be the most cricket-crazy island north of Barbados. In fact, they have never heard of cricket (for them, the World Series calls to mind baseball rather than Kerry Packer), relying on downloaded copies of the rules to bluff their way through the match staged on Lewis's arrival.

Though mildly amusing, this deception of the doctor is also glaringly unrealistic. Cricket's complexities, subtleties and lexicon make it, perhaps more than any sport, an acquired taste, a labour of love and definitely not something of which you can feign knowledge in front of an aficionado. Faux fans are soon exposed.

Not that Lewis knows much more than the islanders. On watching them play he disregards the 20 fielders yet praises the "defence ... protecting the right side". He also claims a batsman hit on the helmet by a bouncer is lbw and reckons South Africa's Makhaya Ntini is Indian. Lewis's cricketing ignorance is either a glaring error on the director's part or a masterstroke, by which the doctor is bluffing that he is cricket-mad when he also does not know his arse from his arm guard. Sadly it is almost certainly the former - which will make it hard for TWC readers to take this film seriously.

But, then, who would take a film about Canadian cricket seriously?


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