(In theaters, March 2002) Finally, Canadians now have a darn good reason to be culturally chauvinist! Deliberately engineered to tickle typically Canadian chords, Men With Brooms takes the usual sports/romance comedy template and applies it to the god-sent sport of curling, with highly enjoyable results. Writer/Director/Star Paul Gross does his best with a low budget (the deficiencies are most visible during the curling scenes, which aren’t much flashier than televised curling) but the real strength of the film is the script’s sense of fun. Good humour permeates Men With Brooms and ensures a constant level of giggling. It helps that the characters are enormously likeable, with particular props to the Gross/Molly Parker lead couple. Men With Brooms is shamelessly manipulative, but it works. (What doesn’t work as well is the whole wacky-Americans/NASA subplot, which feels a touch too contrived. Similarly, there are occasional tonal problems, especially in the third quarter.) The film even features digitally-created beavers, which somehow pushes back the state of the art in computer-generated special effects. All too often, local movies leave us saying a vaguely guilty “it’s good, for a Canadian film.”, but Men With Brooms actually warrants a “It’s good, because it’s a Canadian film.” Shoo, Atom Egoyan and your depressing work; the new hip Canadian cinema is here!