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Review: Big News from Grand Rock

February 27, 2015

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Big News From Grand Rock PosterWhat if the plots of old movies ended up being mistaken for real news?  That’s the amusing premise behind Big News from Grand Rock, an easily enjoyable Canadian comedy that opens in limited release this weekend, after a successful run on the TIFF Film Circuit.  This is a small film, but it’s a lot of fun.

Leonard Crane (Ennis Esmer) is a reporter in the small town of Grand Rock, where nothing much newsworthy ever really happens, and their local paper survives on advertisements and puff pieces.  With the owner (Gordon Pinsent) planning to sell the paper and their offices, Leonard becomes determined to find a story to help save the publication.

So when the Bill Murray comedy Larger Than Life comes on TV, he writes a nice story about a man transporting an elephant, which becomes a hit around town.  Enlisting the help of the dude (Aaron Ashmore) at the video store, Leonard starts using the plots of old comedies, like Easy Money and Caddyshack, to make front page news.  But when he sees the medical thriller Extreme Measures, and publishes an article about secret experiments happening in Grand Rock, the mild mannered reporter ends up in over his head.

The story takes a different turn with the arrival of a big city reporter (Meredith MacNeill), who becomes determined to unravel the truth behind these seemingly preposterous events, but the screenplay by writer-director Daniel Perlmutter remains clever and entertaining right through to the end.  With the Midland, Ontario locations providing an attractive backdrop, and eminently likeable leading work from Ennis Esmer and the rest of the solid cast, Big News from Grand Rock is a thoroughly entertaining homegrown film that has a charming small town feel.

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