Mild, easy-going and comfortably-directed family stuff
Running Time: 111 minutes
UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
An unusual blend of calm and eccentricity is the hallmark of this mellow tale of a young uns summer spent on the ranch of his saggy-bellied, war-weary uncles.
As Walter, the lad in question, Haley Joel Osment keeps sightings of dead people to a minimum, settling instead for clapping eyes on Michael Caine and Robert Duvall as cranky double-act Garth and Hub McCann. Dumped on their doorstep by his yo-yo-drawered mom (Kyra Sedgwick), Walter soon learns a thing or three about growing up – while at the same time inadvertently injecting the pair of them with a new lease of life. In this case, that means spending their suspiciously large wads of cash on clay pigeon machines, a DIY aeroplane kit, and a knackered old lion (yes, a REAL one!) called Jasmine.
Writer and director Tim McCanlies, whos also been involved in writing the new star-packed Around the World in 80 Days flick, delivers a steady, enjoyable enough movie that doesnt appear to be aimed at any particular end of the age spectrum. Smothered in sentimentality and sweeter than thick molasses, its appeal wont be as universal as some would have you believe. A lot of kids will find it too slow, and a lot of adults will find it too schmaltzy and the overall message, a bit like the backdrop, is hazy. But its essentially a nice, relaxing way to spend a couple of hours, and shouldnt give you too much to complain about other than, perhaps, Caines losing battle with a deep south accent.
It's Got: Some good performances from the three leads, but lets face it the roles arent exactly testing.
It Needs: To give the pig and five dogs running around in the background their fair share of credit in the title. Wouldnt Secondhand Lions, Five Dogs and a Pig be just as catchy on the poster?
Alternatives:Fly Away Home
Mild, easy-going and comfortably-directed family stuff thats just fun enough to hold the attention but its also lacking a little in spark and originality.