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Review: Soul Surfer

Cheese instead of heart
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  April 7, 2011

What are Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, and Craig T. Nelson doing in this movie? They didn't make it into the trailer, a testament to just how superfluous these actors are in director Sean McNamara's family-friendly vehicle. One can't help draw comparisons to 2002's Blue Crush, though that surf flick had sex, violence, and coming-of-age drama to keep things salty. But the PG-rated Soul Surfer robs the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a 13-year-old who lost her arm to a shark, of any such delights. Scenic vistas and hard-bodied surfers serve for adequate surf porn, and AnnaSophia Robb as Hamilton is a fresh talent who outshines her veteran co-stars. But this movie relies on cheese when it could have striven for heart. Carrie Underwood as an earnest Christian youth leader is especially painful to watch. And though there are flashes of inspiration and depth, this "against-all-odds" redemption tale flounders mainly in the shallows.

  Topics: Reviews , Sports, Dennis Quaid, AnnaSophia Robb,  More more >
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