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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 14.29%
Average: 4.08%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap: 14.29%

2 reviews, 37 user ratings

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Broken Bridges
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by Collin Souter

"Maybe this movie and 'Idiocracy' should switch titles"
2 stars

I saw the Toby Keith vehicle Broken Bridges via an unexpected and bizarre digital video presentation at the Lincolnshire Theater in an auditorium that smelled like a urinal cake. This seems appropriate, since at one point I thought the movie should be dubbed Yellow Rain, playing off the title of the equally silly, but far more entertaining Prince movie from 22 years ago. Okay, itís not a particularly clever joke, but it was the only moment during the movie where I felt somewhat inspired. The rest of the time I just felt as though I was being punished for just walking into the movie theater. Imagine how I would have felt if I was actually a Toby Keith fan. Does this theater intentionally punish its patrons for having bad taste?

True, Iím not a country music fan. I tired, though. Really, I did. I dated a girl for nine years whose father sang in a country band, so I tried to develop some kind of appreciation for it. Any kind! It just didnít take. I do, however, tend to gravitate toward the often overlooked genre of alt-country. Wilco, Neko Case, Steve Earl, Kathleen Edwards, etc. I could listen to that all day. Furthermore, the Neil Young concert movie Heart of Gold from earlier this year and which has roots in country music, moved me deeply. But the netted baseball cap kind, no can do. I have an equally hard time with movies starring country singers that happen to be about country singers. When you get a film such as this, you can pretty much count on a few things:

1. This country singerís coming home.
2. He used to drink, but not anymore
3. Heíll have two old friends in this town: Fat Guy and Skinny Guy
4. He has some Ďsplainin to do as to why heís been gone so long
5. Heíll sing his heart out at the end

The movie deviates from this formula in one respect, that of the song at the end. The rest of the movie proceeds just as you would think. Toby Keith plays Bo Price, a washed-up, stumbling flounder of a musician who returns to a small town to attend the funeral of his brother, who got killed in the war in Iraq. Boís ex-wife Angela (Kelly Preston) also happens to be there filming a spot for a news segment. Their 16-year old daughter Dixie (Lindsey Haun) is with her as well. Also lurking within this town are Angelaís parents, played by Burt Reynolds (who still looks pissed about Stroker Ace) and Tess Harper.

Of course, Dixie is a wild teenager who dresses differently from the rest of this plaid and denim town. She hooks up with one of the crazier younginsí and ends up drunk at a party where sheís about to become his regular Saturday night thang. But Toby Keith comes to the rescue and smacks the daylights out of this punk for trying to have his way with her. This eventually brings Bo and his daughter closer. Moments later, she is singing a song to him that she wrote. They start to form a bond while he playfully makes fun of her style of music (she, in turn, should be making fun of his acting).

Meanwhile, Bo sees it as his responsibility to use his superstar clout to put together a benefit concert for the grieving widow of his deceased brother. As soon as he has this realization, the movie immediately cuts to Bo standing outside a gigantic black bong with wheels. Yes, that would be Willie Nelsonís trailer.

So, you can see where this will all be going, right? The movie exists as a star vehicle for insert-country-performer-here. They happened to get Toby Keith, who has about as much screen charisma and acting ability as the Empire Carpet spokesman. He canít even seem to write a song convincingly. The movie requires him to do spontaneous things like swim in a polluted lake (no, not Lake Minitonka), but it looks more like the foolish act of a developmentally stunted man-child who doesnít know any better. His character used to be a heavy drinker to the point where he couldnít remember his lyrics on stage. I may be a bit of a masochist, but if we have to sit through a bad performance, I wish that would have been the movie.

Broken Bridges might have worked if the story and direction hadnít been so clichť and stilted. Perhaps if it starred Tim McGraw, whose performance in Friday Night Lights was one of the best of 2004, the movie would have at least had a decent performance to ground it. Preston has nothing to do and Burt Reynolds just looks annoyed. Lindsey Haun appears to be the filmís only bright spot and the song she sings isnít half bad either. Unfortunately, the scene in which she sings it couldnít possibly be more embarrassing.

Country music remains a moneymaker in the record industry and so I have no doubt that the movie was conceived as a means of cashing in somehow. Unfortunately, the movie plays into the stereotypes associated with people who listen to and play country music. With bombastic ballads, clunky storytelling and forced sentiment, Broken Bridges feels about as sincere and insightful as a Schlitz-induced rendition of Achy-Breaky Heart. Itís not something you want to endure for too long and feels just as tedious, almost like a bladder full of Colt 45. You just want to relieve yourself of it as soon as possible, whilst hoping the smell of the urinal cake will be sufficient enough to cloud the rest of your senses.

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originally posted: 09/11/06 13:31:00
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User Comments

9/25/08 Beth Saw it for the first time. I loved it and will watch it again. New Toby and Lind fan! 4 stars
9/10/07 Cindy B. I love the movie and I dont even listen to Country But I liked every song ...... 5 stars
8/11/07 Gabrielle Forson I thought it to be a cute feel good movie, but you must be a Michael Moore fan to not! 4 stars
8/02/07 Carole Hansen I love county music and westerns. I really loved it because it was very meaningful . Toby 5 stars
7/22/07 AP I had no expectations for the film and was pleasantlysurprised. 4 stars
6/09/07 Corinne Dulesky Loved this movie!!! 5 stars
5/28/07 Sharon Loved it all, seen it x 4 and will add to my collection. Do they pay this guy to rate ? 5 stars
4/19/07 GG a awesome movie. go see it. 5 stars
4/04/07 Janet Hopkins i loved the movie it was a Bomb 5 stars
3/12/07 Alison This movie was Great cuz i liked it i asked it for my b-day which is coming up soon 5 stars
3/04/07 Ashley it was an awsome movie i liked it alot it was rockin 5 stars
3/01/07 Gloria Cohrom This was a great movie with great music and with a terreific story 5 stars
2/04/07 m good I loved the movie and toby keith. The music fit the story perfectly! 5 stars
2/04/07 cody a very good movie with good story and great music, toby keith rocks. 4 stars
1/23/07 Allison I LOVED it. 4 all of you that didnt like the movie you dont no a good movie when u see it. 5 stars
1/12/07 brooke gibson it was a awesome movie, the best one i have seen in awhile 5 stars
1/10/07 Nikki 76 I thought the story was a good one and worth seeing! Lindsey is an AWESOME TALENT! 5 stars
1/09/07 Freddie Stumbled on the flick. Not the best, but Lindsey Haun's performance is worth seeing. 3 stars
12/18/06 laura a hansen Iloved it 5 stars
12/18/06 lo. it was amazing,. and it was not crap.. 4 stars
12/17/06 kayla i thought it was amazing! It hit alot of things in real life that we dont think about often 5 stars
12/10/06 Rhiannon McKibben I love broken bridges and I love Toby Keith 5 stars
11/06/06 M L Oh yea, I'll give 'ya country shit! 5 stars
9/23/06 S H If you are a slack jawed toby fan you'll love it-the other 99.5% of us say total crap! 1 stars
9/22/06 Donna I loved the movie, Toby was wonderful! 5 stars
9/21/06 Mark Farmer Don't listen to this critic, he thought "the Shining" with Jack Nicholson was pure dribble 5 stars
9/20/06 anne great movie!!!!! 5 stars
9/18/06 Mary B Happily surprised by the movie. Loved it, even though it'll never win an Oscar. 4 stars
9/18/06 Lynda Green Toby was fantastic & movie great. Go Toby! 5 stars
9/17/06 sher I love Toby even more............go get'em 5 stars
9/16/06 j h amazing 5 stars
9/14/06 Linda Toby is so talented and his acting was subtle and moving 5 stars
9/13/06 Susanne Schaub I loved the movie "Broken Bridges" 5 stars
9/13/06 Edward Connell Be prepared for a non-adventure film full of boredom 2 stars
9/12/06 jimmy #1 toby 5 stars
9/09/06 Jaynice Todak kept me interested...loved the music.. 4 stars
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  08-Sep-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 09-Jan-2007



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