Published Nov 08, 2012In lieu of evidence that King Curling is a period piece, it looks like North American nineties pop culture arrived late in Sweden, or at least in television director Ole Endresen's limited lexicon of reference material. This cultural export jetlag takes the form of a bizarre interest in MC Hammer and Speedos – not to mention a generic plot and irreverent, immature attitude borrowed from lowbrow 1996 bowling comedy, Kingpin.
Endresen's slight contribution to the bawdy sports comedy genre couldn't be more formulaic but it occasionally reaches levels of lunacy capable of dislodging a chuckle or two. One of those narratively lazy inexplicable voice-overs introduces curling hotshot Truls Paulson (Atle Antonsen, who also co-wrote the script) and his broadly defined teammates. In the Disney dwarf naming convention, they would be Grumpy, Horny, and Geeky to Truls' Crazy.
An obsessive perfectionist, Truls' paranoia of disruption to his meticulous environmental control (i.e. lint in the path of his carefully polished stone) drives him to a full-blown neurotic breakdown in the national curling championship. After ten years in a mental institution, the OCD sufferer is released into his wife's custody where he's expected to follow a simple low-stress routine: go to work, go to therapy and avoid any association with his curling past.
Of course, he meets an assortment of wacky personalities in therapy who encourage him to go off his meds to get his old spark back. This is quickly followed by the revelation that Truls' mentor, Gordon, needs a lung transplant that'll cost half a million dollars. And lo and behold, this happens to be the unlikely amount at stake in this year's curling championships.
If you need more than one guess to figure out how the story unfolds from here, this has to be the first movie you've seen. In that case, I'm sorry, and welcome you to the world of trite clichés (population: most films). In addition to being cheap and derivative, King Curling features grainy white subtitles in a movie that mostly takes place on ice, which is either short sighted, or mean-spirited. Sadly, both characteristics apply to this entire juvenile farce.
King Curling screens on Saturday November 10th, 2012 at 7pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. (4 1/2 Film)