Little Boy

It’s amazing that Little Boy got a theatrical release at all, because of how terrible it is. Even by the low standards of direct-to-DVD and made-for-TV movies it sucks. In fact, Little Boy is so awful, that if you saw it on Lifetime among the melodramatic dreck there, you would still think “Man, Lifetime is really letting its standards slip.” The film takes stilted to a whole new level in its misguided attempt to cash in on World War II era nostalgia. Not only is this movie at least 25 years too late to that party, but it’s not selective enough about what to keep from that time period. You could probably do without its ignorant racism toward Japanese Americans and its horrific comparison of the picture’s title character to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. That lack of selectivity permeates its entire story. Mostly the film is about a boy missing a father who is fighting in the war. However it’s also about that boy overcoming racist attitudes, learning to stand up for himself, trying to use nonexistent magical powers, obeying his priest’s directives, and doing a lot of strange grunting. Some of those plot elements might have been interesting on their own, although they’re a chore to watch together. The pain of sitting through the movie pales in comparison though, to seeing writer/director Alessandro Gomez Monteverde squander the efforts of typically talented actors like Michael Rapaport, Emily Mortimer, and Tom Wilkinson with his stiff dialogue and bloated plot. Occasionally the movie’s saturated visuals show promise, but Monteverde ultimately fails to capture a shred of the era’s energy and the charm.