Upon an initial title read, you might be forgiven for thinking that The Great Seduction is a raunchy sex comedy with characters trying tirelessly to seduce each other for personal gain. However, while that concept could be fun, Netflix’s The Great Seduction is far from that. Instead, The Great Seduction is a funny, charming, and light-hearted comedy about the inhabitants of a fading town who come together and attempt to seduce a doctor into living in their community for monetary gain, to keep their home from going bankrupt.
Netflix’s The Great Seduction is actually a Spanish adaptation of a script by Ken Scott from the underrated 2013 comedy, The Grand Seduction. Scott’s original follows the exact same plot as Netflix’s new adaptation, but instead starred Brendan Gleeson and Taylor Kirsch. Even though it lacks the same international star power, Netflix’s The Great Seduction does more than enough to stand out on its own as well as showing much respect to its original source material.
The new cast provide endearing performances backed up by impeccable comic timing that’s sure to provoke some chuckles. While it’s not exactly laugh-out-loud humor, it subtly does the job. Between its cinematic shots and staging, and with some undeniably sweet music which sets the tone early on, The Great Seduction somewhat feels like a toned down, Spanish Wes Anderson movie. It does take a little while to get into, and there are a few moments where audiences may tune out a little, but all in all, The Great Seduction is a nice 95-minute movie.
An Adapted Screenplay
As mentioned previously, Netflix’s The Great Seduction follows the exact same plot as the 2013 comedy, The Grand Seduction. The wacky townsfolk of Santa Maria have endured years of their antiquated home falling increasingly into bankruptcy and devastation. Most of them have finally had enough and begin to leave. Mateo (Guillermo Villegas), the film’s main character, is the only one willing to give the town the effort and support it needs to thrive once more, even though his wife (and even Santa Maria’s mayor) have left to pursue something better.
With that, Mateo and the rest of the remaining villagers put their heads together and try to save their town. They contact a striving company to build a factory on their land, to provide jobs for the townsfolk, and to keep bringing in business to Santa Maria. However, the company declines the offer for a very specific reason — Santa Maria has no doctor. Thus, Mateo makes an arrangement to lure in a doctor and save their town.
Understandably, the doctor isn’t too keen on Santa Maria. It’s decrepit, has no Wi-Fi, no sports, and only has one restaurant with a limited menu. So, it’s up to the townsfolk to seduce the good doctor into staying, coming together to create and provide sports, entertainment, and his favorite meal, among many other things. Soon, the doctor finds the heart that explains why Santa Maria’s residents remain, and begins to see all the joy that resides in this small, quaint little town.
Humor That Lands
The Great Seduction is full of many endearingly funny moments. From the town listening into the doctor’s telephone calls, which allows for many hilarious reactions and dynamics, to a boatsman driving past our main characters with a cow on the front of his boat, this movie is full of wacky humor, and it more often than not really works. Watching the residents of Santa Maria attempt American football with watermelons on their heads is delightfully silly.
Likewise, there are numerous subtle jokes and conversations hidden beneath all the madness and silliness. Little things like discussions of rock music become charmingly funny. Sure, on paper that doesn’t sound particularly interesting or hilarious, but with the movie’s use of music, the cinematography, the light-hearted tone, and the eccentric performances, these moments are truly comical.
An Exceptional Cast
The ensemble of The Great Seduction is truly exceptional. Each cast member creates a multi-layered character packed full of heart and expert comic timing. Guillermo Villegas delivers a heartwarming performance as the movies main character, who soon starts to feel guilty for manipulating and lying to the doctor in order for the health care professional to live in Santa Maria for good. Likewise, his comic timing is on point, and never fails to make us laugh.
However, the most gut-busting performance is from Hector Jimenez, who many may remember from the comedy classic Nacho Libre. Whether it’s his athlete’s foot that went all the way onto his leg, or his hatred for rock music, Jimenez is an amazing delight for those who recognize the star, and a hilarious surprise for those who don’t
Buckets of Heart
Yes, the movie is funny, but what will really win audiences over is the film’s heart. From the opening scene, The Great Seduction oozes with heart and charm, and it never eases up (sometimes to a fault). The movie’s music helps create a light tone, and the adapted script and performances create eccentric but authentic characters worth investing in. It’s a pretty silly story, at least conceptually, but writers Luciana Herrera Caso and Celso R. Garcia, who also direct the film, make this fairly ridiculous plot worth suspending belief for.
On top of that, every member of the cast helps elevate the heart that is at the center of this movie. Don’t get us wrong, The Great Seduction certainly isn’t emotionally transformative and poignant, which the movie never really tries to be, but it will undoubtedly put a wholesome smile on your face.