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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Holes

Starring: Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver
Director: Andrew Davis
Rated: PG
RunTime: 111 Minutes
Release Date: April 2003
Genres: Kids, Suspense

*Also starring: Patricia Arquette, Khleo Thomas, Dule Hill, Henry Winkler, Allison Smith, Nathan Davis, Tim Blake Nelson, Rick Fox, Siobhan Fallon

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

With "Agent Cody Banks," "What a Girl Wants," "Chasing Papi" and "Holes," there are finally some viable cinematic choices for families with children. Adapted by writer Louis Sachar from his own novel, this tale weaves three stories - one set in 18th century Europe, one in America's Old West and one in contemporary Texas - into a fable about friendship and loyalty.

As young Stanley Yelnats IV (Shia LeBeouf) - whose name is a palindrome - walks down the street, he's hit in the head by a pair of valuable celebrity sneakers. When he's discovered holding them, he's arrested and, despite the pleas of his eccentric family (Henry Winkler, Nathan Davis, Siobhan Fallon Hogan), sent off to Camp Green Lake. At this juvenile detention center in the Texas desert run by menacing Mr. Sir (Jon Voight), the Counselor (Tim Blake Nelson) and the Warden (Sigourney Weaver), the boys are forced to dig holes, supposedly to built character. As he assimilates into the group, Stanley befriends Zero (Khleo Thomas), a wary kid, and sees flashbacks that reveal the Yelnats family curse. There's his Latvian ancestor (Damien Luvara) who broke a promise to a gypsy seer (Eartha Kitt) and fled to America, where his life was spared by a notorious bandit, Kissing Kate Barlow (Patricia Arquette), whose true love (Dule Hill) was killed. And like an inspirational jigsaw puzzle, all the disparate pieces eventually fit.

Director Andrew Davis' time-tripping subplots are confusing, plus the slow-paced middle of this coming-of-age adventure begs for judicious editing, but it's an intriguing premise with some sly humor and a payoff worth waiting for - plus no gratuitous sex or violence. So on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Holes" is a suspenseful, serendipitous 7. Dig it!

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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