Men With Brooms [retro review]

“It’s not the size of the army, it’s the fury of the onslaught.”

The Scoop: 2002 R, directed by Paul Gross and starring Paul Gross, Leslie Nielsen, Connor Price, and Molly Parker

Tagline: There’s More Than One Way To Sweep a Woman Off Her Feet.

Summary Capsule: Four men reunite to fulfill their curling coach’s last request — sweep the darn floor!

Lissa’s Rating: Beavers, brooms, granite, and Canadians on ice make for good fun, eh?

Lissa’s Review: Ladies, I must brag. I have something so incredibly rare, so incredibly precious, it must be seen to be believed. Are you ready for this?

Ladies, it’s true! True I tell you! And hey! Back off! I saw him first! And even if I didn’t, I was the one that was smart enough not to let him go!

Regardless of my situation (okay, okay, he’s actually BETTER than I am about housework), the title “Men With Brooms” couldn’t fail to catch my interest. After all, what married woman doesn’t dream of seeing this phenomenon? Brooms! No more sweeping! No more mopping! Your husband will do it all!

Actually, this film is about curling. No, not your hair. Curling, the noble sport of throwing a huge block of granite down the ice and directing its path by sweeping the ice. Sweeping changes the surface of the ice in a manner that I could explain much more scientifically if I weren’t drunk, but seeing as said husband and I each drank a bottle of wine tonight, I’m not even going to attempt it. Just know that this sport originated in Scotland and is popular in Canada, and that should say plenty.

The movie starts on the incredibly cheery up-note of Donald Foley’s death. Donald Foley was the coach of a curling team (called a rink, and made up of four men), and the father of two daughters. All of them have some Major Issue in their life, from alcoholism or walking out on a marriage to drug dealing or a low sperm count. Life’s just that way, you know. In his final will and testament, Donald Foley asks that his ashes be placed in a curling stone and sent to rest on the button during the Golden Broom Tournament. Huh? Yeah, that’s what I said when this premise was unveiled in the first ten minutes. But amazingly, by the end of the movie, every single word made sense in the context of that sentence. By the end of the movie, hubby and I actually understood curling. And that is probably an accomplishment, given that I really wonder what possessed grown men to come up with a sport that actually involved a broom.

Naturally, the team isn’t thrilled about the idea of getting back together after all these years, and their unresolved issues have a lot to do with each other. (Some of these unresolved issues come a bit too close to Cool Runnings, but it’s not distracting. Or at least it wasn’t before I pointed it out.) They also need a new coach, given that, well, their old one is dead and that’s the only reason they’re together at all at the moment.

I don’t know if it’s just because we’ve watched a crop of bad movies or what, but Men With Brooms struck me as a great time and a lot of fun. Totally worth the rent. And I’m not just saying this because I’m drunk… really.

If the above, highly detailed paragraph didn’t convince you that this movie is a good bet, then let me add this important fact: Leslie Nielsen is in it. Never mind that when he was on screen I had to actually ASK hubby “hey, is that Leslie Nielsen?” and that he actually demonstrates acting skills, as opposed to mere slapstick prowess, it has Leslie Nielsen. And as a Mutant reading this site, you know that’s got to imply great movie.

Don’t be fooled, though. Despite what it says on the box, it doesn’t STAR Leslie Neilson.

It’s not perfect, but what movie is? Even the greats aren’t perfect. There’s a romantic subplot here, and it’s a rare comedy that’s actually enhanced by romantic subplot. This one is no exception. Why did they take a perfectly good movie and ruin it with romance? And it’s baffling romance, at that. I had a hard time sorting out for sure which sister was which, and which one Chris was involved with, and why he liked either of them or they liked him. Not that anyone was all that contemptible, just there was no chemistry whatsoever. But fortunately, the romance doesn’t take up THAT much screen time, and the main players are attractive, so it’s worth suffering through. The curling scenes and the scenes between the teammates make up for it.

There are very few, if any, jokes at the expense of Canada, and I know that will disappoint Justin. But Men with Brooms still got quick quotes, good sporting action, a short training montage, and four long-lost friends that play off each other like a well timed um… I have no idea how to finish that simile.

And to make things even better, there are many instances of beavers. How can you beat beavers? Especially when they sing. And if you still remain doubtful, the Tragically Hip go curling. That’s got to be cool.

Even if none of these men ever applies their broom to the floor.

O Canada, we sweep on guard for thee

Intermission!

  • Beavers singing songs I sang at Girl Scout Camp?
  • Milk shots!
  • The rules of curling.
  • Eddie (Jed Rees) was also a Thermian in Galaxy Quest. I thought he looked familiar!
  • The Tragically Hip, one of Canada’s most popular rock bands, appear in this film as team Kingston. All five members hail from Kingston, and four still reside there permanently.
  • In an attempt to help make this Canadian-made film successful, Alliance Atlantis put on an advertising campaign that was on par with a campaign for a Hollywood-made film.
  • Product placements are almost entirely (with exception of Pepsi) for products and companies that are only available in Canada.
  • Apparently curling is very popular in Wisconsin, and Olympians live in Portage. I only know this because my friend Sue told me so.
  • Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? Yeah, there are some amusing outtakes.

Groovy Quotes

Donald: Oh, I know I died with a clear conscience — and I hope my underwear was too — but I’m gonna miss this world.

Donald: I’m even going to miss the mine, because I love the smell of sulfur in the morning.

Donald: I’d like to pass on a word of advice: you’ll never get a woman to settle down with you if you can’t remember her name.

Donald: But I’m aiming to get into Heaven, so I guess I’ll have to forgive you.

James: Must urinate.

James: How do you forget about 400 pounds of defecating menace?

Chris: Are you some kind of moral dyslexic?
James: I think you’ve got that backwards, Chris.

James: I’m a drug dealer.
Neil: I bury dead people.
Eddie: I have a single digit sperm count.
Chris: And I’m a naked cheater. I say we go for it. Are you with me? Let’s do it.

They may be old, but they are the enemy. Kill them.

Eddie: It’s not the size of the army, it’s the fury of the onslaught.

Andrea: I could blow a gasket!
Neil: I’m a gasket.

Gordon: Where’d you graduate from? Saddam Hussein’s School of Physiotherapy?

Juggernaut: I’ve played on a lot of ice, all over this planet we call home, but I don’t believe I’ve seen a better shot. It’s been a pleasure.
James: “On this planet we call home?”
Chris: Hey, whatever.

Julie: Look, this isn’t about me and him or you and him. This is about me and you.
Amy: What, like a lesbian incest kind of thing?

If you liked this movie, try these:

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Wind [retro review] « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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