Anyone’s Game/Chicks with Sticks (2005)   1 comment

Tanya Allen as Kate Willings, one of the Black Widows

ANYONE’S GAME, A.K.A. CHICKS WITH STICKS (2005)

Starring

Jessalyn Gilsig as Paula Taymore

Andrew Chalmers as Stewart “Stewie” Taymore

Margot Kidder as Edith Taymore

Kevin Kruchkywich as Ross Taymore

Pascale Hutton as Charlene

Michie Mee as Heather Desmond

Chantal Perron as Brigitte

Vanessa Holmes as Brenda

Tanya Allen as Kate

Juliette Marquis as Felicity

Natassia Maltbie as Marcie

Jason Priestley as Steve

Directed by Kari Skogland

1 hour, 38 minutes long

Rated PG in Canada; PG-13 in the United States

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Canadian movies can be very good.  My tour through filmed works of Tanya Allen has brought me across films I would not have watched otherwise, but am glad I did.  Anyone’s Game/Chicks with Sticks is among these.  I have also noticed connections between this movie and others.  For example, Kari Skogland also directed Tanya Allen in White Lies (1998), my review of which is here:  https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/white-lies-1998/.  And Jason Priestley was also in Fancy Dancing (2002), my review of which is here:  https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/fancy-dancing-2002/.

I begin by setting up the story.

Jessalyn Gilsig as Paula Taymore

Paula Taymore is a newly single mother with a hardhat job in the small town of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.  (Calgary and Okotoks substitute for Red Deer as filming locations.)  Being short on money, she evades the washer repo man during the opening credits.  Paula hopes for a promotion and the corresponding 20% raise at work, but this uncertain.  And her alternator is on the fritz. Ross, her brother and a mechanic, has the part but not the time to replace the alternator.

A few years ago, Paula almost made the Olympic hockey team, but events, including an automobile accident involving her son, Stewart, and mother, Edith, pulled her away from the camp.  She still follows the sport religiously, playing it when she can.

One night Ross arranges for Edith, the grandmother, to babysit Stewart so that Paula can play on his local hockey team against another local team, the Chiefs, who lose the game.  At the gathering following the game some knuckle-dragging men make sexist comments about women’s hockey, and Paula accepts the challenge to field a women’s team to play the women’s game against the Chiefs in four weeks.  Ross will keep track of the roster.  And there will be money involved, with men matching any funds the women can raise.

The diverse women’s team, called the Black Widows, consists of, among others, an ex-con and a Ph.D. candidate in women’s studies writing her thesis, “Wicca in the Workplace.”  The Black Widows:

Marcie replaces Charlene:

The end of the movie is never in doubt, as the DVD box art gives it away.  Furthermore, one of the songs in the movie is “Girl Out of the Ordinary.”  In other words, one might as well chant “You go, girl!” while watching this film.

This is an unabashed hockey chick flick.

Michie Mee as Heather Desmond

Heather Desmond is the spunky radio DJ with an urban attitude in rural west Canada.  She encourages Paul’s hockey battle of the sexes.

Margot Kidder as Edith Taymore

Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in four Christopher Reeve Superman movies, does an excellent job as Paula’s supportive and spunky mother, who plays cards with her grandson and becomes the den mother to the Black Widows.

Mother and Son

Stewart “Stewie” Taymore, who is in the Second Grade, is actually one of the two most mature males in the movie.  (Most of the others spend time speculating foolishly about the menstrual cycles of the Black Widows.)  The relationship between Paula and her son is quite endearing.

Steve and Paula

Jason Priestley’s Steve is the other mature male.  He, also a single parent, has something in common with Paula:  his daughter and Stewart have the same teacher.  So Steve and Paula meet at school, between parent-teacher conferences.  These two fall in love.  But, more importantly, Steve has both the time and ability to replace her alternator.

Anyone’s Game/Chicks with Sticks contains both dramatic and comedic moments.  It is predictable, yes, but good and harmless viewing.

You go, girls!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 23, 2011 COMMON ERA

All images are screen captures I took using the PowerDVD program.

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One response to “Anyone’s Game/Chicks with Sticks (2005)

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  1. This was a real good movie

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