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Score: A Hockey Musical wins over some locals, but virtually no one else

The first onslaught of critical feedback is out after the world premiere of Score: A Hockey MusicalMike McGowan’s filmic ode to pucks, NHL prodigies and has-been pop stars—kicked off the festival last night. Did it flounder in hokey, parochial splendour? Or did it revel in its playful take on our stereotypical national treasures? The reaction was what we’d expect from a musical based on corny local jokes. See the roundup after the jump.

Score is as deep as a Don Cherry rant, but it’s also a crowd-pleaser, one that doesn’t require season tickets to the Maple Leafs to appreciate.”—Peter Howell [Toronto Star]

“[Director Mike] McGowan wanted to make a hockey musical, damn it, and that’s exactly what he did. What’s the problem?”—S.T. Vanairsdale [Movie Line]

“With all the assembled musical talent and choreographer Amy Wright’s fancy footwork, you keep expecting this amiable underachiever to eventually rise to a loftier occasion, just like you’re hoping Newton-John might at some point turf her duet partner and deliver a Grease-type (or at least Xanadu-type) showstopper. Better to leave any expectations on the sidelines.”—Michael Rechtshaffen [The Hollywood Repoter]

“The notion of a hockey musical is both ingenious and outrageous, and much of the film’s charm lies in the sheer showbiz bravado of the concept.”—Brian D. Johnson [Maclean's]

“How fitting that the setting is Toronto—this thing plays like the Leafs.”—Rick Groen [Globe and Mail]

“[Score is] a lite-rock opera with lyrics composed of clunky dialogue and a plot stitched from sports underdog tropes.”—[USA Today]

“Don’t expect this musical with Olivia Newton-John in U.S. theaters.”—Lou Lumenick [New York Post]

“As for the film itself, an American audience—and let’s face it, it’s unlikely there will be much of one—will probably not be nearly as tickled by cameos from Walter Gretzky and George Stroumboulopoulos.”—Steven Zeitchik [LA Times]