Movie Review: Little Boy – The Writers Seemed Afraid to Give The Movie Any Edge

littleboy-mv-10 - 06MAY2015

Little Boy is a limited released faith based film, set in World War II. It’s the war seen though the eyes of a 7-year-old. While the premise has promise, sticky sentimentality and on the nose messages about tolerance turned it into a failed effort.

We start out by meeting Pepper (Jakob Salvati), a wide-eyed 7-year-old boy desperate for his father (Michael Rapaport) to return home from the war in the Pacific. Pepper is the subject of bullying at school and despair at home. This all sets up a pretty bleak picture. Add in an older Japanese man named Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), who is treated with suspicion and is shunned by the residents of the small California town this is set in, and you have the perfect recipe for a movie with a message.

Unfortunately, problems abound. The movie seemed to be afraid to ‘go there’ with its overall theme. Instead, it sands away the rough edges in order to give a pat, simplistic view of fear during war time. As a result, it doesn’t come across as realistic. Everyone is one dimensional, from Emily Watson playing Pepper’s saintly mother, to Hashimoto playing the patient, benevolent old man.

Right now is a great time to tackle an issue like this. After all, the fear and racism most Japanese American’s dealt with during World War II is similar to the fear and racism Muslims in America are dealing with now. It’s a complex issue, which has many layers that need to be examined.

Little Boy - 06MAY2015

Little Boy pic (2) - 06MAY2015

This film takes that complex issue and turns in into a simple “everyone should be nice to everyone, all the time.” While a sticky sweet theory, it doesn’t work so well in practice. What about racial profiling? What about sleeper cells, extremism and Guantanamo Bay? After all, there were Guantanamo Bay’s all over America during World War II. They were called Japanese Internment camps. None of this is portrayed in the film. Instead, everyone is one dimensional. No one really has a good motivation. They’re either a tolerant saint or a one dimensional bigot.

The unfortunate part of this is that it could have had a strong story line. One strong part of this film is the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy. I remember those from being brought up Roman Catholic and know they can make a strong storyline in and of themselves. It’s too bad that the writers seemed afraid to give the movie any edge. It sees things in black and white. People are either good or bad. That doesn’t work when you’re tying in a religious lesson. Instead, it just comes off as an overly long Sunday school lesson.

Also, in a movie that seems kind of ‘holier than thou’ the fact that the townspeople rejoice at the bombing of Hiroshima doesn’t ring true as godly. While casualties are a part of war, I think the deaths of 166,000 civilians should be treated with a bit more sensitivity, rather than proof that god exists.

WE GAVE IT: 2.5 Stars

2.5 Stars


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Little-Boy-movie-poster_1 - 06MAY2015

Movie Review: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – I’ve Honestly Never Been in a Theater So Silent.

mall cop 2 - 29APR2014

This movie confused me a bit. I thought it was supposed to be a comedy but it felt more like a commercial for the Wynn Resort in Vegas. I counted, and there were approximately 7000 helicopter shots of the outside of the resort in the movie. Those shots far outnumber the laughs.

Of those, I counted four.

In this completely unnecessary sequel, Paul Blart’s life is again in shambles. Remember all the happy stuff that happened to him after the first movie? Yeah, that lasted like a week. Blart’s wife left him 6 days after the wedding, while his beloved mommy dearest was run over by a milk truck. All this is told in voice over narration, as I imagine even covering this movie in 0 calorie chocolate couldn’t make Jayma Mays and Shirley Knight reprise their roles. So Blart takes off to Vegas with his delightful daughter in tow. Of course, the Wynn hotel where they will be staying just happens to be hosting bad guy Vincent (Neal McDonough) who is planning on stealing a casino’s art treasures. Then wackiness ensues.

Really, really unfunny wackiness. Remember all the stuff that made you laugh during the first movie? Blart jumping around, doing really slow rolls and trying to look like a badass? Remember how funny that was?

Hold on to that feeling if you can, because by the end of this movie, you won’t find it funny at all anymore. All attempts at humor are made through over the top actors and over the top antics. Everything that was clever in the first movie has grown tired and tedious by the second.

I’ve honestly never been in a theater so silent. I don’t think I even heard a chuckle. I’m starting to understand why Sony elected to sneak this one out and not offer advance critic reviews. It was just plain bad.

Paul blart Mall cop 2 moive still 4 - 28APR2015

mall cop 2 movie still - 28APR2015

Speaking of Sony, they managed to cram their name on just about every piece of electronics in the movie. Watches, cameras, cell phones. If there had been a pregnancy test, it would have said “Sony” on it.

Kevin James continued to play the lovable buffoon character that made him famous, but really, that character isn’t quite so loveable anymore. His ‘all time loser’ act is getting pretty tired. It would be nice to see him win one for a change.

They should have never made a sequel. It was completely unnecessary. The whole mall cop premise was funny, but you take the mall cop out of the mall and he’s just another fat tourist in Vegas. Forgettable, a little ridiculous and not watchable.

This was a poor storyline trotted about by a company who just wanted to grab as much cash from this premise that they could. The problem was they already robbed us blind in the first one. This was not a story that needed to be told twice. It was finished off quite nicely the first time around.

I don’t know what’s sadder. This movie, or Kevin James desperately trying to hold onto the last few pieces of his fading career.

We Gave it: 1 Star: Official Movie Trailer and Movie Poster Below

1 star

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Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 Movie Poster