Written and Directed by Michael McGowan
Starring Noah Reid, Allie McDoanald and Olivia Newton-John
Canada is a different country after this year’s Olympic games in Vancouver. Its sense of pride was rediscovered through a collective rallying behind its many talented athletes. And one sport brought the country together like no other – hockey. In 2008, director Michael McGowan did something similar to enhance Canadian pride, albeit on a much smaller level, when he released his last film, ONE WEEK, a cross country road trip that showed how majestic Canada’s countryside truly is. And so it would stand to reason that combining McGowan’s filmmaking efforts with hockey itself should amount to a film that would resonate in the hearts of Canadians. Instead, SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL reminds everyone why Canada isn’t famous for its movies.
Noah Reid, a homegrown Canadian from Toronto, where the film takes place, plays Farley Gordon, a 17-year-old with enormous hockey potential that has yet to be tapped. Personally, I never saw any of this supposed prowess on screen but his buddies sure think he’s got the goods. He is such an amazing force on the ice that he inspires his teammates to burst into song in celebration. You might think that hockey and musicals don’t really go together but after seeing SCORE, you will actually know for a fact that they don’t. That isn’t fair though. Perhaps if McGowan had bothered really pushing the skills on either the musical or the hockey front, it would have worked. Instead though, he treats us to some barely passable hockey playing, some fairly grating singing and some just plain pathetic attempts at dancing. If a director isn’t going to bother pushing anyone to excel, why should anyone bother showing up for his amateur effort?
Being home-schooled by pacifists (Olivia Newton-John and Marc Jordan, looking more annoyed to be there than I was), Farley has limited experience with team sports and somehow managed to miss that fighting is almost an integral part of playing hockey with a team. Farley must figure out who he is in a world that is pulling him in so many indiscernible directions at once. Unfortunately for him, he has to warble his way through some pretty nauseating lyricism to get there. Fortunately for us, it only takes him ninety minutes to get there. Damn overtime.