Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Legend of Bagger Vance. C-

The Legend of Bagger Vance tries too hard to make the audience fall in love with it. It gives us a little boy who we're supposed to adore, a hero who we're supposed to root for, and a savior of sorts who's supposed to make us feel really, really good. Then top that all of with the typical period costumes from the twenties and the rich southern accents so obviously put on. I like a feel-good-flick as much as the next guy, but something about this one just rung false for me. It reminded me of Meet Joe Black with golf. The story, presented in hyperbolic fashion, is one we've-you guessed it-heard many times before. It's that old happy story of a down-on-his-luck golfer named Junuh (Matt Damon) who decides to return to the course and face off against two of the game's most esteemed players (one of them happens to be Bobby Jones, which makes this movie almost identical to The Greatest Game Ever Played). He starts off poorly, terrible in fact, and it when it looks like all hope is lost he suddenly figures out his swing. What The Legend of Bagger Vance has going for it that other similar sports movies do not is the presence of a phantom caddie. His name is the one in the film's title and he's played by the always amiable Will Smith. Vance, who comes out of nowhere and disappears just as mysteriously, spends all his time preaching words of wisdom to Junuh. He's a pretty silly character who never manages to gain much of our attention. He's just sort of there. Charlize Theron plays a wealthy lady who forms the tournament and also represents Junuh's love interest. The Legend of Bagger Vance is a predictable, ridiculous, and tedious two hours that don't feel much different than all the others hours I've spent watching predictable sports movies.

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