Monsieur Dr. Feelgood
By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 30, 2004; Page WE37
WHEN A VISITOR from Quebec lands on the remote French Canadian island of Ste. Marie-La Mauderne, the residents are waiting for him -- in cricket gear.
Obliged to set up temporary practice on a remote island community to avoid punishment for a traffic offense, Montreal doctor Christopher Lewis (David Boutin) intends to get through the experience as painlessly as possible.
But in "Seducing Dr. Lewis," a folksy comedy with the elbow-nudging spirit of a Benny Hill show, the people of Ste. Marie have other ideas. A corporation is thinking of building a factory there, which would pump money into this ailing fishing community. But the company insists the island have a full-time resident doctor before it considers the place. The doctor doesn't know it, but he's the island's only hope.
That's where the cricket clothing comes in. Germain (Raymond Bouchard), the island's fisherman-turned-mayor, has learned Christopher loves cricket. After a little research on the Internet and some fast tailor work, the islanders pretend to be crazy about the sport.
That's just the beginning. With a little low-tech know-how, they monitor his phone conversations to find out his likes and dislikes. All of a sudden, Christopher discovers the local restaurant is having a "beef stroganoff festival" (in honor of his favorite dish) and women are wearing shoes to show off their feet (the result of another Christopher revelation).
And so on and so on. It's a rather predictable story line: The people are going to work on him until he surrenders. Given the goofy bonhomie that permeates debuting director Jean-Francois Pouliot's movie, you shouldn't be biting your nails over the outcome. "Seducing Dr. Lewis," which has already proved its audience-charming appeal in various film festivals, is so disarming, it's hard to say anything but good things about it. So get in line. The doctor is in.
SEDUCING DR. LEWIS (Unrated, 109 minutes) -- Contains mild obscenity and some sexual content. In French with subtitles. At Visions Bar Noir and Cinema Arts Theatre.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company