2006
Rated: G
Genre: Kids/Family Drama Fantasy
Directed By: Michael Mayer
Running Time: 1:35
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 9/11/07
Special Features:
"My Little Girl" Tim McGraw Music Video
Trailers
3 Deleted Scenes
Making of Featurette
Bloopers
Gag Reel

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FLICKA (2006)

 

There’s yet to be a movie starring Alison Lohman that I don’t enjoy her in. Lohman is perhaps one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood today, as she possesses a sense of innocence and fire that makes her an entertaining leading woman. From “Matchstick Men,” right down to a cheesy kid flick like “Flicka,” she’s constantly giving it her all and she brings skill to each performance. For all its caveats, Lohman is a saving grace and definitely makes this worth the time and effort. Tim McGraw even gives a competent performance as the rancher father who can’t seem to find a way to control Lohman’s Katy, and the two have an interesting chemistry on-screen.

The thing to remember about “Flicka,” is that it’s not for guys like me or perhaps not even for girls in my age bracket. This is a movie for little girls around their preteens who have a horse fixation. It seems like a stereotype perpetuated these days, but hell, girls still do have a horse fixation. “Flicka” feeds that fantasy element, without any of the actual realism to go along with it. But for folks giving the movie an honest chance, it won’t click with them. I gave “Flicka” a surefire chance, because it sported a few of my favorite actors, but the movie is its own undoing. Possibly one of the most obvious caveats is the films propensity to sport some truly sappy dialogue. The film’s entire atmosphere is aimed to the children, but there are some sequences based around awful dialogue, and it’s worthy of a cringe or two on many occasions. One of the most inadvertently funny moments involves Katy’s father hauling Flicka away with Katy responding a rather funny one-liner, along with her brother who also sneers and confesses his desire not to work on the ranch.

I forgave the film’s shamelessly formulaic setting, but the disconnected sequences of pure sap and soap collectively bring down an otherwise potentially strong drama for the kids. One of the more annoying scenes involves Katy’s convictions of singing to Flicka to tame her, and the obvious tribulations she experiences while fighting for the horse. There’s the old fashioned father looking to keep his farm afloat, the put upon son looking to break away, the head strong daughter, and of course the submissive wife acting as a moral center.  

Some of these clichés tend to border on sheer laziness, as writers Rosenthal, and Konner, no strangers to clichés, quite obviously crib the book of movie clichés and characterize on auto drive halfway in; don’t even get me started on the obvious wild Lion plot device. If that’s not enough, the film rears towards camp, as Katy pretends to be a man to enter a rodeo competition and really just looks… like a tranny. With another crew, this could have been a charming little family picture, but there were so many moments of awkward corniness, and eye rolling cutesiness, that this will just about alienate everyone beyond the demographic. Sadly more, Bello is wasted in a utilitarian role as a submissive and often moral mother who appears only to provide guidance to Katy and have wars of words with Rob, and nothing more. It’s a shame Ms. Bello couldn’t be used to a better extent.

In spite of some strong performances from some truly talented actors, “Flicka” is a thick saccharine sappy and soapy remake, with horrid dialogue, a formula story near laziness, and a waste of the talents of Maria Bello. Perhaps the children will enjoy this, but I was just choked by the corniness.

 

 

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