27 October 2003 | tfrizzell
Put Your Hands Together, Clap and Cheer.
Cartoonist Josh Lucas (of "A Beautiful Mind") gets a phone call telling that his two great-uncles have been in an accident. Immediately we see the Lucas character in the form of young Haley Joel Osment as he is literally dropped off with great-uncles Michael Caine and Robert Duvall by lousy mother Kyra Sedgwick in the 1960s. It seems that the two supposedly have a huge fortune somewhere on their property in Texas and Sedgwick, along with several others, have been trying to find the treasures for themselves. Osment seems out-of-place completely at first and his two uncles appear to be cold and unfeeling, but soon Duvall is seen sleep-walking and acts like he is sword-fighting while he does. Osment has never seen anyone act this way before and he becomes curious. He finds a photo of the beautiful and exotic Emmanuelle Vaugier in the house's tower and his want to know the pasts of his uncles' builds. Caine tells Osment of a time at the start of World War I when the duo unwittingly became a part of the French Legion, fighting with the Allies during the war. The war comes and goes and Caine starts to tell of Duvall's love for Vaugier when he was a young man. Naturally she was also wanted by an evil sheik (Adam Ozturk) and thus he had to protect she and himself at all times. Eventually the stories conclude and Osment finds out how the two got their money. But could it be possible that what Caine has been conveying are just stories and not the true reality? "Secondhand Lions" (the title refers to an old lion that Duvall and Caine buy during the course of the picture) is one of those movies that makes you feel that there are still good people in Hollywood who really want to develop nice family-oriented films that cater to all age groups. Writer/director Tim McCanlies shows real potential here and Osment continues to amaze. He holds his own with legends Caine and Duvall from the word go. Osment, who is the most atypical youngster in Hollywood these days (never selling out to be in junk like "Freddy vs. Jason" or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake), just keeps on growing and maturing as a performer. His range was amazing in "The Sixth Sense" and he has not lost his gift, instead he has cultivated it further. Definitely not a perfect film, but still a very enjoyable trip to the movies that stands tall during a year of sub-par movies. With all the shortcomings from Hollywood in 2003, the family films have been surprisingly the best productions by far. 4 stars out of 5.