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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.19%
Worth A Look: 17.74%
Pretty Bad: 19.35%
Total Crap: 11.29%

4 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Simon Birch
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by Chris Parry

"Pass the syrup. No! Not that much!"
2 stars

This is one of those films that you can't say anything bad about even if you hate it. Like Shine, Sling Blade, Cosi and The Other Sister, you basically sign a "will not say bad things" clause when you buy a ticket. A cynic would call these films "Oscar Bait". Most people call them "coming of age" films or "triumph over adversity" movies. A realist would call them something altogether different.

But while Simon Birch tugs at your heartstrings until they're ripped out of your throat, it also manages to be sufficiently realistic as to avoid coming across as shameless, in the way that The Other Sister comes across.

The story, derived from the book A Prayer For Owen Meany, is simply misdirected. So long is taken on establishing characters that it's somewhat of a surprise that the characters are still so shallow. Ashley Judd's role is so one note that at times its distracting. Not her fault, she simply doesn't have the kind of scenes or dialogue that one would equate with a big performance.

The two kids playing the leads are both great. They're extremely likeable and decent young actors, but again, we're talking cruise control. Nothing really happens until the very end, and by then too much time has passed for it to really have an affect on the audience.

The ending called for tears, and no tears were forthcoming. Its as if everyone knew what was coming from the first frame of the film. Why? Because we did.

A cameo by Jim Carrey only serves to further mess up the equilibrium of the film and the "who is my father" dillemma that the large part of the film is based around is easily solved by anyone paying attention (or not nodding off).

Like Patch Adams, this film has not been put together tobe a masterpiece. It's just one of those nice family things that will have granny smiling and mom looking at her watch, as the kids munch popcorn. No life message, nothing to think about, everything served up on a silver platter with the solutions circled in red.

Not to say the film is God awful, but it doesn't earn your respect and doesn't strive real hard to. In my book, that means a fail.

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originally posted: 03/08/99 16:05:04
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User Comments

8/12/11 jiropan tearjerking film..... 5 stars
10/04/08 Iris Verna Heart felted movie? It put no felt in MY heart! 2 stars
1/16/08 breanna kramer i love this movie it is my favorite 5 stars
1/30/07 keiwi i'd love this heart felted movie to death!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/09/06 Jessica great film, deeply touching. 5 stars
10/20/06 coocooo great movie 1 stars
7/11/06 David Cohen The main character was a jerk, I hate jerks, even short ones 1 stars
5/15/06 Shannen OMG!! the end was so sad all my friends and i were crying!! 4 stars
1/17/06 Agent Sands This movie makes me cry like a little bitch. 5 stars
12/15/05 kamin it was awesome! 5 stars
7/27/05 noli mark alcordo it is nice 3 stars
2/04/05 What've coffee & donuts got to do with God? Well, God is hol(e)y and too much god can make you jittery. 3 stars
1/14/05 Kathy ter Plugg Shows Trashley Dudd CAN play civilized roles -- she just doesn't want to. What a shame! 2 stars
6/15/04 Gray see mitch's comment 1 stars
4/05/04 DM Some decent acting but it tried way too hard to make my cry - I wanted to vomit. 2 stars
10/20/03 Samuel Justus A great movie, but very sad climax! 5 stars
6/09/03 JoAnne Hurley Nothing great, but I give it an extra star because I can't remember Ashley Judd being in it 3 stars
9/05/02 Chancey Thunderpants Boring movie. Only fitting place for this is FOX Family Channel. Too sappy. 1 stars
1/15/02 Andrew Carden Bland Movie. It's Supposed To Be Good, but Tries Too Hard, and Litterally Explodes. 2 stars
10/17/01 Joe Miller A good movie- it really makes you look at Simon's message 4 stars
8/08/01 ted v. it's one of the better films Hollywood produced. deeply touching 5 stars
3/27/01 BART The reason why he believes in God 4 stars
2/27/01 Franbel Its the best movie i have ever seen in the whole world. 5 stars
12/28/00 Turtle Just spectacular. It should've won Best Picture for 1999! 5 stars
9/20/00 Jed Excellent piece of cinema one of 1998's finest. 5 stars
11/20/99 Lashundra Bryson A good film that makes you appreciate life, family, and friendship. 5 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster BooHoo , my heart is breaking . What a shameless act to cash in the easily inpired FORSHAME 2 stars
12/24/98 Lou Pine, Jr. "Based on"? This is the shameless, saccharine butchering of a worthwhile John Irving novel. 2 stars
10/27/98 two bikers in the row behind us were bawling by the time the film ended. Damn Good Movie 5 stars
10/24/98 grunter a little too afterschool special/Hallmark; not enough bitter in its bittersweet 4 stars
10/19/98 Dark Horizons Extremely delightful and at times awe-inspiring. 5 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz So relentlessly maudlin that even a distinguished supporting cast can't save it. 3 stars
9/23/98 Angela M zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz............... 1 stars
9/20/98 katherine it was slright. but did he have 2 grag her boobs? i mean, that had 2 hurt. 4 stars
9/20/98 Negative Creep This is One of those typical feelgood hollywood films. I loved every fucking minute of it 5 stars
9/14/98 Como Erectus Judd is awesome, the rest plod. 3 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor THE UGLIEST FUCKING KID IN FILM. OH, YEAH. 1 stars
9/09/98 Karl Denninger A little retard kid with the kung fu grip 1 stars
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  11-Sep-1998 (PG)
  DVD: 11-Nov-2003


  29-Apr-1999 (PG)

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