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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Directorial debut offers up a smart comedy

Author: johno-21 from United States
12 February 2008

I saw this last month at the 2008 Palm springs International Film Festival. American-born Director/writer Matthew Allen has been living in Sweden since 1991 so this film is listed as a co USA/Sweden production. It's a very strong debut feature film from Allen, a nice little comedy that will guarantee a smile on your face throughout the film. This in fact was one of the 10 audience favorites of the festival. Roy (Evan Ellington) is a troubled juvenile delinquent living with no supervision from his older deadbeat brother Reed (Clayne Crawford) after the death of their father Vernon (David Wilbur). Roy accidentally shoots Reed and Reed presses charges sending Roy to Juvi Hall. Roy's uncle Erik Naybor (Cary Elwes) comes to his rescue with an offer to live with him and his family and start a new life. Erik is a high powered motivational speaker who's kind of like a cross between Tony Robbins and Pat Boone and lives in a lavish spread in the Hollywood Hills. Jill (Illeana Douglas) is Erik's compatible wife and business partner. Cam (Chris Pratt) is the good looking, athletic and preppy perfect son who also takes an active part in his father's business. Jessie (Katie Cassidy) is the sweet and pretty cheerleader type daughter who rounds out the family unit in the family business. Linda (Kate Finneran) is a reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper magazine doing a cover story on Naybor and his motivational empire. As witty as this film is I don't see it finding a theatrical audience but it could find a following on one of the pay cable channels like HBO and a subsequent DVD audience. Music from Eale Eye Cherry and Johan Söderqvist. I would give this an 8.5 out of 10 and recommend it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Funny Parody

Author: donaldommm from United States
16 January 2008

This film is a funny parody on motivational speakers and New Age beliefs. It is lighthearted --- breathe deep, let go, FOCUS! --- and yet it provides a valuable perspective by making fun of someone else's cherished beliefs. The head of a family makes his living by giving motivational/spiritual pep rally talks, and yet finds himself faced with challenges in taking care of a 'bad boy' relative. I loved the sexy daughter, and the family conferences and fitness practices. Check it out!

The film has scenes of shaken confidence and domestic challenges that are ultimately conquered through a kind of triumph of will. It is rather heart-warming. I believe that parody is valuable because we can all laugh at the foibles of others, and yet in our laughter at the expense of others, we may glimpse the fact that our own cherished beliefs may have some previously unsuspected shortcomings. And this could give us a better perspective and contribute to a greater willingness to embrace much needed live-and-let-live attitudes in our society!

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Uplifting charmer which keeps your interest

Author: OJT from Norway
4 July 2015

Debut feature film from American Matthew Allen, a resident of Sweden. Hence this is a Swedish/American co-production.

A juvenile teenage boy lacking parents is put up by his distant relatives to avoid being put in prison after shooting his brother in the foot in a freak accident. But the family he is to stay with is under the rule of a life coach. The coach's approach is "Look hard at what you want, and then grab it". Will this have an affect on the young rascal?

Somehow this film manges to grab your interest right from the start. Evan Ellington in the role as young Roy manages to grab the opportunity in the role, and the positive thinking gets to him in this realistically told comedy, which has a feel-good feel, still with a sad thread all way through.. The film is beautifully photographed, and well played. This is no laugh-out-loud comedy, but rather a small gem of a film. It manges to put that little corner smile on your mouth, as it's also heart felt all way through.

The film is both uplifting and warm, and one of those little film which will linger in your life afterwards. So you see, this is a recommendation. Make sure you see it!

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