on December 17, 2003
The Newcomers - (2000) - Dir James Allen Bradley
Reviewed by Ollie - December 2003
This is a simple, straightforward film, about a family moving away from the city, to start a new life in a small country town.
After being subjected to bullying, Sam Docherty, played with absolutely no emotion by Matt McCoy, is forced to make the right decision and testify in court against them.
Within ten minutes, the family has moved house, and the eldest daughter is asking where the nearest mall is. At a small garage, Courtney spots the guy who predicatably will later become her love interest. Upon paying for their goods, their credit card is declined, and you know from that point on that this entire movie is going to be predictable.
Within 25 minutes we are introduced the customary "best friend", in the form of an adorable dog, whom it is decided is a stray, with no apparent regard for any owner it may have been fortunate to have. Enter Sam's new neighbour, "Gil", played by Billy Kay. It is instantly apparent that he is a troublemaker. He has a the stereotypical pierced ear of all young hoodlums. What follows is a feeble attempt at their bullying of Sam, followed by a feigned friendship in the hope of becoming closer to the beautiful Courtney. We also meet an elderly and slightly eccentric lady with a pie to greet the family.
What follows is a tired, formulaic tale of a boy, his bullies and his ever faithful dog. "Earring boy", picks on Sam, is chased away by the dog, which looks for all the world like it will lick him death. Father of "earring bully" decides "I don't want you hangin' round new kid"...shortly after this point we learn that his mother died...father raises him alone...blah...blah. The scene of them climbing the fence, with "scared fat kid being scared" may well have been stolen from Stand By Me...
The fairground scene equally predictable and nauseating as we see the "romantic interest" blossom, while bad kids steal fireworks, and you just know "sumthin' bad is gonna happen"
There's even a "bridge crossing" reminiscent of SBM, at which point "bad earring boy" falls into lake, is naturally saved by boy, just before they all go over the waterfall that wasn't there 2 minutes ago, and the dog has disappeared only to make the customary reappearance at the end of the film when everything turns out happily ever after, the good and bad all become friends, and while playing chess (the way new best buddies always do), along comes baddies daddy, with a peace offering, and a hearty welcome and along comes doggie to be greeted with absolutely no emotion by kid, and they all lived happily ever after.
From start to finish, this film is tired and predictable. Even the usually outstanding Paul Franklin Dano and Billy Kay cannot pull this film into life, as the scripting and direction are appalling. This is bland, predictable and formulaic. It is a genuine torture to watch. There are thousands of movie's in this genre, and nearly all do a much better job. If you're looking for a decent "sappy" family film, look elsewhere. Lassie, with Tom Guiry, is a much more enjoyable film, and while as predictable as most of these films are, is at least played out with some passion and enthusiasm.
This film draws heavily on stereotypes, religious beliefs, and family values, in a lame attempt to cobble something remotely resembling a story. By the end of the film, the only thing more tired than myself was the film itself.
Good points? It's a rather nice dog. Most definitely not recommended viewing; A total disappointment from start to finish. If it were possible to give a score of zero, this would definately earn it's score.