The isolated Alaskan town of Mystery isn't remarkable for much except the proud tradition of its weekly ice hockey game and the high calibre of players it produces. Not long after the town fathers inform stalwart player and local sheriff, John Biebe (Russell Crowe), that he's to make way for talented youngster Stevie Weekes (Ryann Northcott), news arrives of a plan to stage a televised exhibition game between Mystery and the New York Rangers. Led by the ambitious Mayor (Colm Meaney), the town's residents endorse the idea and frenzied preparations commence, opening old wounds and revealing secrets in the process.

Much of the film feels contrived or too familiar...

They take their game pretty seriously in Mystery... a committee of five select the team from the town`s best players, and for the last thirteen years sheriff John Biebe (Russell Crowe) has been a player... but just when the team is about to meet its greatest challenge, John is dropped for the talented youngster Stevie Weeks (Ryan Northcott). You see Team Mystery was written up in Sports Illustrated by a former local boy played by Hank Azaria and now they`re being pushed into a promotional match against the New York Rangers. The town`s judge - Burt Reynolds - is opposed to the whole idea, he can only imagine the embarrassment when they lose badly, but there`s no possibility of repressing the excitement of this event for the town.

Directed by Jay Roach who directed the Austin Powers movies - Mike Myers has a cameo in this film - Mystery Alaska has very much the feel of a telemovie - it was written and produced by David E. Kelley who`s been responsible for some very successful television series like Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope and The Practice. Russell Crowe is once again very good, as are most of the performers, but much of the film feels contrived or too familiar, although they do resist a major cliche at the end. It`s a likeable film without being a terribly exciting one.