Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sean Connery, Rob Brown, Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham, Busta Rhymes, Michael Pitt, April Grace, Michael Nouri, Richard Easton, Glenn Fitzgerald, Lil' Zane, Stephanie Berry, Fly Williams III, Damany Mathis, Damien Lee
Written by: Mike Rich
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual references
Running Time: 136
Date: 12/22/2000

Finding Forrester (2000)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

By the Book

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Newcomer Rob Brown plays the genius black teenager who hides his smarts from his friends and instead concentrates on basketball. He meets a reclusive J.D. Salinger-like author, played by Sean Connery, who encourages him to write. After he gets accepted to a high-class private school, a bigoted basketball player and an equally bigoted teacher (F. Murray Abraham) try to make his life hell, and a relationship blooms with a cute white co-ed (Anna Paquin). When Brown and Connery are together in his apartment talking about writing, the movie soars (they even have an argument about beginning a sentence with a conjunction!). But when the other half-witted and half-baked characters come into the scene, the movie sinks into so many gooey cliches. Brown is even forced to turn into a trivia-question god in order to deal with narrow-minded characters.

Gus Van Sant was once a top indie director and has now taken to combining the worst elements of his mainstream success Good Will Hunting (1997) with the stuff that made some of his other movies so bad, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1994) and Psycho (1998). Finding Forrester is almost worth seeing for Connery and Brown, but it's a lot to ask for people to sit through 136 minutes when only about a third of it is any good.

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