(1998)

Critic Reviews

39

Metascore

Based on 23 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
78
Austin Chronicle
Only masterful performances keep this frankly sentimental film from foundering in a sea of syrup.
75
Christian Science Monitor
The movie is lively, funny, and endearing until melodramatics and sentimentality take over in the last few scenes.
70
This friendly, briefly exciting story (1998), inspired by John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, achieves a nice balance between caricature and nuanced characterization and even manages not to be cloying.
60
Dallas Observer
The film is a feeble shadow of a book that won over even those of us who are no special fans of Irving -- it's probably his funniest, least self-conscious work.
60
Irving's dead-serious sense of spiritual purpose is here replaced with weepy sentiment and saccharine comedy. But knee-deep in syrup, the film manages to stand on its own -- mainly due to a terrific performance from young Smith and a host of winning supporting players.
42
Entertainment Weekly
It allows for little of the dark and funny in Irving's picaresque morality fable. No room! Not with the buckets of bathos thrown our way, substituting for mass-market spiritual uplift!
40
The New Yorker
This tale of faith, fate, death, and redemption is non-threatening and also non-inspiring.
30
Johnson, on his maiden voyage as director, treats every scene as if it were a bonbon, almost too precious to consume, and Marc Shaiman's score is a running series of mood cues.
20
Empire
In the title role, newcomer Smith shows vestiges of an intuitive and moving performance, but he's swamped by a veritable tsunami of sentimentality and hamstrung by cute dialogue.
20
L.A. Weekly
A movie bloated with character cliches and a bullying score that bludgeons us into whatever emotion composer Marc Shaiman thinks we should be experiencing.

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