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The Atlantic Film Festival 2010: Score: A Hockey Musical

“Reid’s performance and the admittedly catchy music still make this a fun time at the movies on a purely escapist level.”

Score: A Hockey Musical

Directed by Michael McGowan

Score: A Hockey Musical is about as Canadian as it can get. First off, it’s about hockey. Second off, writer/director Michael McGowan packs in as many references to Canadian things as he possibly can. The characters sing and dance in the AGO. George Stroumbooulopoulos plays, well… himself. In a short scene that includes Walter Gretzky talking to another character, the Tim Horton’s cups they drink from practically smack you in the face. You get the point. It’s quite obvious for whom this movie was intended. And according to McGowan, he wasn’t trying to hide that fact. At the Q + A following the movie’s gala premiere at the Oxford Theatre, McGowan admitted, “If other people don’t like it, well, then just screw them, we all know who this was made for.”

It has been really fashionable recently to make movies that proudly display their Canadian-ness, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World being the most popular recent example. To its credit however, Scott Pilgrim manages to never hit you over the head with its tributes to Toronto, whereas in Score, the references start to wear. The plot follows 17-year-old Farley Gordon who has grown up being homeschooled by his hippie parents. Apart from that, he also happens to be a hockey prodigy. The rest is nothing particularly new. We’ve got the rise to fame, the apparent sacrificing of his morals, forgetting of the ones he once was close to like his best friend, the similarly homeschooled, precocious Eve and finally, all these things drive him to have to make some sort of decision regarding the clash of his old and new life.

If this movie wasn’t a musical, it wouldn’t really be anything special. And unfortunately, even with the music, it still doesn’t set itself apart very much. A lot of the songs are catchy but often end before you have time to start bobbing your head along to them. And even though the director and the music supervisors proclaim proudly to have been inspired by musicals of the 40s, it is much more reminiscent of the sing-talk kind of music from something like Rent.

The movie’s one saving grace is Noah Reid playing Farley Gordon. In a movie where most of the characters are completely flat caricatures that speak in absolutes and cheesy clichés, he gives the most earnest performance. He really sticks with the character even when the writing at times makes him out to be a complete simpleton. Reid gives the role his all and that makes him extremely worthwhile to watch.  So, if you can get past the simple story and the lazy writing, at the very least Reid’s performance and the admittedly catchy music still make this a fun time at the movies on a purely escapist level.

Laura Holtebrink

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