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By Merle Bertrand | January 20, 2001

It’s a toss-up which is more excruciating to attend; a local talent show or any sort of recital involving a musical instrument. The tiny town of Minor, MN has decided to hold the former, which, for most of its participants, effectively resembles the latter.
While the eternally upbeat Linda Mead (Mary Woolever) is actually looking forward to the upcoming torture, and especially her son Roger, Jr.’s (Liam Kearns) performance, her more realistic husband Roger, Sr. (Alan Johnson) is far more skeptical.
His discomfort only grows as a procession of townsfolk put on their show under the nasal guidance of MC Samantha Erie (Michelle Hutchison). Finally, it’s Little Roger’s turn. He strolls on-stage with his guitar, launches into a little number called “Pitch and Catch,” and, well, let’s just say Minor, MN isn’t quite ready for punk rock.
“The Ballad of Roger Mead” is a jovial, if gleefully subversive little film. Director Mark Carter nails his portrayal of the quirky personalities found in small towns across America. Nails it, too, when it comes to depicting long-suffering moms who support their kids no matter what they do. Only the pacing seems a bit off here; combined with a few flat performances which hold the film back a little bit.
Holding back creative projectile vomiting isn’t a concern of Roger’s, however. (His song isn’t called “Pitch and Catch” for nothing.) While his “talent” is virtually guaranteed to turn a mother’s hair gray, this film is virtually guaranteed to bring a smile to a viewer’s face.

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