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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It was great to see Sandra Bullock scoop up all those end-of-the-year acting awards for playing one of her signature crowd-pleasing, tough-minded, sentimental kooks and not for the sort of ill-fitting dramatic roles usually touted as Oscar bait. But little else could be called great here. This tale of a homeless black teen, taken in and eventually adopted by an easy-going upper-class white family may be fact-based, but there’s hardly a believable moment to it. And it’s not much helped by the sit-com level of acting director John Lee Hancock gets from most of his cast. (That twinkling little brother is a particular pain.) It comes off like an uplifting Sunday sermon by one of those toothsome televangelists, right down to the little life lesson attached to every homily & plot turn. And, of course, a reward at the end in the form of an NFL contract. In a feint toward even-handedness, the film asks us to consider whether Big Mike has been unfairly used by his benefactors for their own selfish purposes. Maybe . . . maybe not; but we have.

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