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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 Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Some movies have a limited target audience, and HOLES is certainly one of them. Louis Sachar's screenplay is based on his popular kids' book by the same name. Kids who fell in love with the book back in junior high will undoubtedly want to see it. Many readers of the book at my screening said that they were happy with the movie since it was such a literal adaptation of the novel.

But, if you aren't already pre-sold on the movie, as a fan of the book would be, there is little in it to amuse or intrigue you, no matter how young or old you are. The film's originality ends with the its basic concept about kids in reform school digging holes in the desert. After you've heard the plot's setup, there isn't much more to keep your interest. There frequently isn't even enough to keep you awake.

In order, one supposes, to put some energy and edge into the production, Disney hired adult action movie maker Andrew Davis (UNDER SIEGE). His brain must have been fried in the hot Texas sun since this picture is frequently nearly comatose.

The story concerns one Stanley Yelnats IV (Shia LaBeouf). You'll notice that Stanley Yelnats is a palindrome. Clever that. The men in the Yelnats family have suffered from a curse for the past one hundred and fifty years. The audience is cursed by having to suffer through more bad flashbacks that you can count.

One day Stanley is arrested for stealing shoes that someone threw on his head from a bridge. For this crime, he is sentenced to eighteen months at Camp Greenlake -- a reformatory that is neither green nor arid. Once there, he is given the nickname of Caveman and forced to spend his days, along with his new buddies, Zero (Khleo Thomas), Squid (Jake M. Smith), Armpit (Byron Cotton), X-Ray (Brenden Jefferson) and Magnet (Miguel Castro), digging holes in the desert. Supposedly this is to build character, but it's obvious that the warden (Sigourney Weaver) is forcing them to do it in order to find something. The only semi-decent performance in the film is delivered by Jon Voight, who plays a weird guy called Mr. Sir, the camp's second in command.

Be ready constantly to have to suspend disbelief. Again, the book's admirers will have no trouble, but, if you haven't read the book, the exhausting physical feat in the ending will be way too much to buy.

Skip the movie. Read the book. Or just skip the movie.

HOLES runs a long 1:51. It is rated PG for "violence, mild language and some thematic elements" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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