A couple of ornery old codgers like Garth (Michael Caine) and Hub (Robert
Duvall) wouldn't have any need for a do-not-call list. Not only do they not
have a telephone -- or a television for that matter -- they use their
pump-action rifles to blast away at the traveling salesmen who are foolish
enough to stop by their rundown farm.
In SECONDHAND LIONS, their great-nephew Walter (Haley Joel Osment) has come to
live with them for the summer, since his flighty mother, Mae (Kyra Sedgwick),
is off to court-reporter school, or so she claims. Walter is a taciturn kid
who doesn't know how to smile. Osment is three or four years too old for his
part but does the best he can in the wrong role.
Walter's summer with his uncles ignites his faith in mankind, thanks to a long
whopper of a story that Garth tells about Hub's exploits decades ago in Africa.
The two of them, Garth explains, were shanghaied into the French Foreign
Legion. Meanwhile, back on the farm, everyone in town believes the uncles have
a large stash of loot buried somewhere.
The very broadly written comedy by Tim McCanlies, who also directs, is full of
outlandish adventures. The uncles like to fish with rifles and fly biplanes
under overpasses. The movie is just silly and sappy enough that it might
appeal to preteens, but I can't see many outside of that age group embracing
it. Still, if you're a fan of tearjerker endings, you could end up roaring for
SECONDHAND LIONS runs 1:41. It is rated PG for "thematic material, language
and action violence" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes