Reaction roundup: what the critics say about Score: A Hockey Musical

Reaction roundup: what the critics say about Score: A Hockey Musical

The Score: A Hockey Musical hits theatres today, and our stable of local critics tried their absolute darndest to like it. After all, the trailer does remind us in no uncertain terms that “This is our game. This is our passion. This is our movie.” Still, despite valiant patriotic efforts, reviewers had a hard time getting past the insatiable sentimentality of the film, along with what many found to be a lacklustre score (pun clearly intended). The reaction, after the jump.

Peter Howell, at the Toronto Star (2.5 out of 4), admits director Michael McGowan “is courting either smashing success or epic failure” by giving a sports movie the musical treatment. Howell’s final verdict: “Score is happy just to entertain the home team.”

The National Post‘s Chris Knight (2.5 stars out of 5) likens the film to a neighbourhood pickup affair: “Boisterous and gleeful but decidedly amateur.” He tries to find bright spots but ultimately confesses, “It all adds up to a forgettable frolic, a story that wears its heart on its jersey from a director not afraid to court patriotism and sentimentality in equal measure.”

Jason Anderson of Eye Weekly (2 stars out of 5) also tries to be forgiving but can’t ignore the shortcomings: “Despite the relentless good cheer of Score: A Hockey Musical, and the valiant efforts of its cast, this songs-and-shinny extravaganza is not the ultra-Canuck crowd-pleaser it could’ve been.” Like others, Anderson finds fault with the musical numbers, likening them to “a hastily assembled Fringe Fest production that’s grown too big for its Cooperalls.”

Susan G. Cole of Now Magazine (3 “N”s out of 5) is more forgiving: “It’s totally hokey, the songs all sound the same and the ending is ridiculous. So why was I smiling all the way through this movie?” Still, she wonders about the audience: “Don’t know who’s gonna go for this. Hockey nuts will hate the anti-violence theme, while musical lovers aren’t necessarily sports fans, and the film snobs might scoff.”

The biggest fan was Stephen Cole at the Globe and Mail (3 stars out of 4): “The film is well made—as heartwarming as the sweater Mom knit you for Christmas.” Cole was the sole critic to praise the movie’s song-and-dance-scenes: “Hockey players use sticks like Astaire once wielded a cane, bouncing them off the ice, then windmilling them around.”

Jim Slotek of the Toronto Sun (no star rating) didn’t mince words: “If a rinkful of choreographed, moose-sized hockey players singing about the code of fighting—reminiscent of a community production of West Side Story on ice—is not what you’re looking for, then consider yourself warned.”

The one bright spot on which everyone seemed to agree was the film’s 23-year-old star, Noah Reid, who plays reluctant hockey hero Farley Gordon. Says Chris Knight: “As Farley, Noah Reid turns in a hat-trick performance in that he can act, sing and skate—all at the same time when necessary.” Stephen Cole concurs: “Star Noah Reid skates well and sings better than he skates. His Farley is just charming and self-absorbed enough to make his plight seem plausible.”

So, if you’re one of those people who like their hockey games Gershwin style and don’t mind lyrics that rhyme “Zamboni” with “baloney,” check out Score: A Hockey Musical. If not, you might be better off turning on the TV and watching the actual hockey game, but don’t expect any deli meat references or charming two-part harmonies.

Score: A Hockey Musical: The perils of losing your (Don) Cherry [Toronto Star]
‘Score’ musical is pure camp [Toronto Sun]
Score: A Hockey Musical: It’s love on skates [Globe and Mail]
• Score: A Hockey Musical [Now]
• Score: A Hockey Musical [Eye Weekly]
• Score: A Hockey Musical: A breakaway into song [National Post]