Jenn and I rented Men with Brooms (2002) to see if we really liked Paul Gross or if we just liked his character on Slings & Arrows. As it turns out, we still like Paul Gross…but we weren’t all that crazy about Men with Brooms.
This one attempts to do for curling what [SPORTS MOVIE] does for [SPORT] — you fill in the blank. Gross stars as Chris Cutter, the skip of a curling team who bailed on his mates in the middle of a championship match years ago without telling anyone why. The death of the team’s coach — who was also the father of Cutter’s abandoned fiancee Eva (Michelle Nolden) and her sister-who-has-a-thing-for-him Amy (Molly Parker) — brings the team back together. The coach’s dying wish is to have his ashes inserted into a curling stone, and for the team to return to competition. Cutter lures his reclusive father (Leslie Nielsen) out of retirement to coach the band of retired misfits in their unlikely comeback.
An uneven mix of light comedy and drama, Men with Brooms isn’t necessarily bad, but there’s something off about it. The characters are well defined, the dialogue has its moments, the structure — curiously similar in places to season one of Slings & Arrows — is predictable but tried-and-true. It may just be the production, or the post-production, that makes it fall a little flat. It lacks the quick editing pace and clockwork timing required for this kind of material. It also goes for an ensemble feel, but maybe spends too much time on side characters and not enough on the principles. As for the curling sequences, they only partially succeed in selling the sport.
Gross and Parker are likeable and overall it makes for painless background viewing, but not much more.