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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 29.03%
Average: 3.23%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Son of Rambow
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by Erik Childress

"Stallone - Cancel The Rambo IV Plans Now And Embrace This"
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Conservative members of the media, bad parents and researchers looking to make a fast buck with politicians all focus on the negatives that can come with the influence of film on a child’s imagination. These formative years apparently pick out nothing but the worst qualities of a cinema hellbent on destroying their spongy little minds and, according to Michael Medved, declaring war on the nuclear family. Excuse me while I mentally form new expletives to describe these people. Isn’t it more likely that the grown-ups changed and child’s play has remained the same? Or did we all miss the meeting when years of Cowboys & Indians suddenly overnight went from a fun game with our pointer fingers to a racist hypothesis of the decline in family values? If Sylvester Stallone’s career can be construed as a metaphor for a blowhard viewpoint, than Garth Jennings’ Son of Rambow is a wondrous coming-of-age tribute that explores the positives in a sea of troublemakers.

Set in 1982, British grade schooler Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is precisely the kind of innocent these people would target as Exhibit-A. Belonging to a household under the watchguard of an Amish-like religious sect, his mother (Jessica Stevenson) is strict with him but only for reasons to protect him from “mistakes” she had made in the past. Will has never even seen a movie, but that doesn’t stop him from drifting off in class or isolating himself in the bathroom stall where he’s been adding to a large-scale drawing he’s been working on.

One day Will crosses paths with Lee Carter (Will Poulter), the school troublemaker who uses the hallway the same way Steve McQueen uses the cooler. After Lee cons Will into taking the heat off him for an on campus dalliance, Will gets a look at his counterpart’s homelife also consisting of absentee parents and a bullying older brother. More importantly though, a pirated copy of First Blood. Like a shot to the creative portion of his brain, Will offers to help Lee with the pet project he’s working on for a local amateur film competition. With Will as the son of the Vietnam hero and Lee as his superior, Trautman, they are off and running doing their own stuntwork and storyboarding to create perhaps the best Rambo sequel possible and hopefully a final nail into the need for a fourth entry in the series.

The joy that oozes off the screen in their adventures is only complimented by the string of bizarre humor which Jennings (of 2005's confused Hitchhiker's Guide adaptation) works into scenes with effortless glee. Montages of Will & Lee’s creations and complications may have grown old after awhile, but Jennings works in a subplot about French exchange students that brings added dimensions to both the satire and the pathos of our two heroes. Didier (Jules Sitruk), with his rock-star looks and cooler-than-thou Frenchy attitude becomes the wannabe hangdog for the local students forced to be shadows for the new arrivals. With a new entourage in tow, Didier’s clan will soon cross paths with the Rambow production and offer their own take on the material, much to the consternation of Lee. Aside from the less esoteric approach brought to the action by Didier, his involvement exposes some sad truths about Lee’s behavior and a final revelation about Didier himself that is nearly as moving as the film’s concluding gesture.

Much like last year’s top pickup at Sundance, Little Miss Sunshine, Son of Rambow starts with an appealing concept and through cracks in the characters’ armor there lies a huge, beating heart that leads to a crescendo of joviality so flawlessly accomplished that your mental applause sign may light up before its all over. Thinking back to my own initial viewing of First Blood with my dad on video and my mom’s horrified reaction when a cop’s face met a large rock, I like to believe that was a turning point at the age of seven; a point where my parents acknowledged the “join ‘em” advantages as opposed to the “beat ‘em” as they watched me play Star Wars out in the yard or write Flash Gordon scenarios on spiral notebooks. Wouldn’t it be great if all adults were as cool? And if you kids out there, young and old, want to test how cool your parents are – ask them to take you to see Son of Rambow. Your spelling is likely already ruined after seeing the Will Smith homeless movie. Might as well have some fun too before you grow a mustache and become Michael Medved.

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originally posted: 01/31/07 02:36:36
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2007 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2007 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2008 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/07/08 VCL3 Predictably funny but unpredictably moving. 5 stars
12/02/08 Shaun Wallner Very Funny! 5 stars
9/05/08 pHylum Lite but lovable. Give us more oddly matched character like these 2 kids. 4 stars
7/29/08 caiphn Cute and suprisingly funny. 4 stars
4/05/08 sulky Great review. I saw it Rambow today. Adored it! 5 stars
5/26/07 Blackbrain Charming and funny, but the secondary cast should have more development. 4 stars
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  02-May-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Aug-2008


  DVD: 26-Aug-2008

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