I had fun last night, and for once I wasn’t at the arena. I could have spent the night at the rink watching my son practice, but I had “scored” a pair of tickets from Mongrel Media to “Score – A Hockey Musical”, a Canadian-made movie that is exactly what the title suggests- a musical about hockey.
I had seen the trailer and knew the premise of the movie was just so ridiculous that it just might work. I also knew that Olivia Newton-John played the mom (not your typical Hockey Mom, by the way), and I knew to expect some cameo appearances by Theo Fleury and Walter Gretzky. Other than that, I had a pretty open mind and was mostly wondering how Michael McGowan (Producer/Writer/Lyricist/Director) would make a musical…out of hockey.
From the opening scene, starting with a beautiful rendition of O’Canada by John McDermott and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, this movie was all-Canadian. Score – A Hockey Musical is about Farley (Noah Reid), a homeschooled teen who has never played a day of organized hockey or team sports other than pickup games on an outdoor rink. Next door to Farley lives Eve (Allie MacDonald), his best friend since they were three. Farley is discovered paying pick-up one cold Toronto day by the owner of the Brampton Blades. He soon becomes touted to be the next Sidney Crosby, much to the chagrin of his parents who are against sports in general, and the violence in hockey in particular. Farley is signed to the team where he achieves instant stardom as much for his skill with the puck as his unwillingness to fight. The movie is about Farley’s struggle to reconcile his passivism with his love for the game, and his increasingly complicated relationship with Eve.
So, does a musical about hockey work? Absolutely – if you have a sense of humour.
For me, this movie was highly entertaining, and yes, corny. But you had to expect that going into it, right? From the very first choreographed dance (skate?) number, the movie had my attention, and kept it right to the end when I was sorry to hear the tune “Hockey, the Greatest Game in the Land (Hawksley Workman) because it meant the movie, and the spectacle, was over. The plot was not complex, but when I’m watching a hockey musical, I don’t really want it to be. And, I was impressed by the actors. As my friend obseved, “How are they managing to keep a straight face when they sing these songs?” But they did, and even conveyed the intended emotions – anger, frustration, angst, joy, through song. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but I will say that Walter Gretzky’s appearance was perfect (stick around during the credits to see a particularly poignant moment with Mr. Gretzky), and Theo Fleury’s cameo was priceless, “Is there anything this guy can’t do?” Nelly Furtado even gets a few chuckles as the ardent hockey fan.
Would I recommend this movie? Yes, absolutely, but only for those Canadians who can laugh at themselves and Camada’s obsession with hockey, and who enjoy cheesy humour. I smiled at the ironic musical numbers start to finish and laughed far more than I have laughed in many big-budget Hollywood comedies (be forewarned, I also got a kick out of the giant, inflatable beavers at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic closing ceremonies). So, if you get a chance, head out to see Score – A Hockey Musical before it’s gone from theatres. It might not change your life, but you will be entertained for the full 134 minutes, and you will most certainly smile. Once available, I’ll be picking up the DVD as well, because this movie is sure to become a Canadian classic.
And, if you like music, be sure to enter our contest to “Score a Score – A Musical Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” (closes November 7th).