Directed by Paul Gross. Canada. 2002.

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A survey for all you fans of “Due South” out there:  

How many women out there remember the ad? You know the one. It had those two female office workers gathering at their window everyday like clockwork. They’d be looking out their window at their hot dog stand, swooning over that Mountie. Do you remember? He was letting the women in line go in front of them, taking off his hat when he spoke to them.... How many television viewers swooned right along with those two office workers? A show of hands please. I thought so. That Mountie (otherwise known as Paul Gross) is back in Men With Brooms.

Men With Brooms
                    isn't so dusty. All Rights Reserved.Men With Brooms is the story of the members of a now defunct curling team brought back  together by the death of their admired friend and coach. His last wish? He asks to be cremated, to have his ashes placed inside a curling rock, and for the estranged men to reunite and use that rock competing in the area’s largest tournament. 

Watching this movie I have had a long time notion confirmed. Paul Gross (Due South, Whale Music) is the Canadian equivalent of Tom Hanks. Just as there is nothing Hanks touches that doesn’t turn to creative gold, the same is true of Gross. In this movie alone he’s starred, directed and been one half of the team to write the screenplay and compose the original score. It seems as though the only things Gross can’t do, are things he hasn’t yet attempted. As Chris Cutter, the skip of the team Gross is absolutely marvellous. He’s filled to the brim with courage, charm, and inner conflict. He brings a tense humour to scenes played with his character’s father, and a muddled thought process that all can identify with when trying to decide between his romantic choices.

Proving that the onscreen chemistry between them extends far beyond their time together on Due South, Leslie Nielsen (Spy Hard, The Naked Gun) steals every scene as Cutter’s father; Gordon. Being the fan of silly humour that I am Nielsen is a favourite of mine. He brings his character to life with a goofy personality that is absolutely irresistible. Every time he steps on screen you can’t help but grin. 

Molly Parker (Wonderland, Sunshine) is full of sass and strength as the daughter of the deceased coach Amy Foley. She is wonderfully effervescent in this role, and I suspect the she will remind every theatre goer of someone they have in their life. 

The big hurdles Men With Brooms will face are the facts that it is a Canadian film, and therefore probably won’t get much exposure south of the border, and two it does feature curling. To those who say they that a movie about curling sounds like a dumb concept I say that a movie about a city bus that will blow up if it goes under fifty miles per hour would sound pretty dumb too. Until you see Speed. A love story about two people who don’t meet until the final ten minutes of the movie doesn’t sound too swift. Until you see Sleepless in Seattle. Don’t judge it thinking it’s just about one of our favourite sports, it’s so much more. Go. It will win you over. It might even make you watch a curling match. But first, and foremost, it will make you smile.

Jen Johnston

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