Swept away

men with brooms directed by Paul Gross, written by Gross.

men with brooms directed by Paul

Gross, written by Gross and John Krizanc,

produced by Robert Lantos, with Gross,

Molly Parker, Leslie Nielsen and Michelle

Nolden. 95 minutes. A Serendipity Points

Film production. An Alliance-Atlantis

release. Opens Friday (March 8). For

venues and times, see First-Run Movies,

page 76. Rating: NN Rating: NN

jim allodi’s work in men with Brooms keeps us watching what’s really a mediocre movie (see review, page 76). Co-written and directed by and starring Paul Gross, it’s an ensemble comedy about a burnt-out curler (Gross) who returns to his small northern Ontario town and reunites his rink — the four guys who make up a curling team — to try to win the Golden Broom championship. A fitful comedy, its funniest moments arise from its undercutting of feel-good, cheesy sports cliches, but there aren’t enough of these to save the movie. Allodi, a Toronto-based actor who’s also a writer and director in his own right (his fine first feature, The Uncles, debuted last year), plays Neil Bucyk, a low-key mortician stuck in a loveless marriage. His isn’t a big part, but he gives the film’s subtlest performance.

“I’m dead man walking,” says Allodi during an interview in the Paramount Cinema’s glittery upstairs lounge. “When I saw the film, I thought, “Wow, that’s really a dead face, and one eyebrow is an inch higher than the other.’

“When I read the script, I realized Neil’s the bass player of the movie — he stands at the back strumming away.”

Men With Brooms is the most highly marketed Canadian film ever. The ad for it played during the Olympic men’s gold-medal hockey game 10 million Canadians saw it over and over again.

“People have been talking about the film’s marketing, and it is a Canadian juggernaut,” says Allodi. “But the juggernaut follows the decision to distribute the film. Hollywood films get shown in some 150 theatres across Canada. What’s inspiring about this movie is that it’s Canadian and will be seen.

“My movie, The Uncles, showed on three screens, which means that film festivals are more important to me than getting my film released in Canada. At least that way I have a chance to sell the movie internationally. ingridr@nowtoronto.com

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