The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), you know the organization which hands out the Oscars, loves movies with World War II as a backdrop that have an uplifting story. Little Boy does seem to be an attempt to appeal to the Academy but the April release date betrays it: it is not worthy enough to even be watched by Academy members (in fact any audience).
All the elements of an Oscar bait movie gone wrong are present here. There is the titular character, an 8-year old, who’s only job seems to be belief. His faith gets him through the toughest situations in life. The film is set in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor bombings, and like all bad WWII movies, it takes the tragedy for granted. In fact, the director tries to turn it into a miracle and fails miserably. There is no subtlety, even when no other approach would have worked.
Director Alejandro Gamez Monteverde (also the co-writer and co-producer) seemed to have put too much faith in faith for this movie. The historical accuracy is non-existent, the story is cliche, even at 106 minutes it drags, and oh, it has Kevin James (if ever there was a red flag for a movie), all making up for a huge convoluted mess.
The cast includes mostly those actors who haven’t been seen in quality projects for a while, expect perhaps Tom Wilkinson, who was his usual brilliant self not too long ago in Selma. On the surface, given the subject of the movie and the setting, it does seem like Oscar bait but as you watch minute after minute unfold, you realize what it is: a faith movie. This is a movie designed to attract religious moviegoers, a genre that has been momentum of late.
The sad part is, whatever your faith and belief, this is one bad movie, to say the least.
Photo credit: Little Boy movie