The home team shoots and misses with "Score."

The home team shoots and misses — not just net, but puck — with “Score.” This lamentable Toronto opening-night choice proves even a concept as delightful as “hockey musical” can be penalized for poor execution. Pic bursts into song about two minutes in, flatlines and never recovers. Theme and novelty value guarantee a certain high profile (if not ticketbuyers) in Canada, where it opens Oct. 11. Offshore prospects will be icy.

Toronto teen Farley (Noah Reid) is a sheltered naif raised by peaceniks (Olivia Newton-John, Marc Johnson). Yet he has a natural gift noticed by the owner (Stephen McHattie) of an amateur league team; Farley’s nimble skating and bull’s-eye stick work soon impress not only coach (John Pyper-Ferguson) and teammates, but the national media. However, just as quickly, pacifist Farley becomes a pariah for refusing to participate in the inevitable on-ice fisticuffs. Songs by several composers are as incessant as they are interchangable, with lyrics by helmer Michael McGowan (“One Week”) often painfully awkward; games and musical numbers alike are dully staged; perfs (also featuring Allie MacDonald as the love interest) are as bland as the limply kidding script.

Score: A Hockey Musical

Canada

Production

A Mongrel Media presentation of a Mulmur Feed Co. production. (International sales: Mongrel, Toronto.) Produced by Michael McGowan, Avi Federgreen. Executive producers, Richard Hanet, Jody Colero. Directed, written by Michael McGowan.

Crew

Camera (color), Rudolf Blahacek; editor, Roderick Deogrades; music, Jonathan Goldsmith; production designer, Tamara Deverell; art director, Jason Graham; set decorator, Peter Wilde; costume designer, Patrick Antosh. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (opener, Gala Presentations), Sept. 9, 2010. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Noah Reid, Allie MacDonald, Stephen McHattie, Marc Jordan, John Pyper-Ferguson, Dru Viergever, Brandon Firla, Gianpaolo Venuta, Nelly Furado, Hawksley Workman, Olivia Newton-John.

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