Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bringing Up Bobby

As a part of my obligation in reviewing movies, I at times offend some people. There are the people of faith who are offended that I find good in movies they may not like, others who may not like that I am critical of certain films. With that in mind, I believe I have an obligation to truth, my faith, and my readers. That means when I see something I don’t like, I need to be honest. That said, sit back, and endure.

I recently screened the new release of the DVD, Bringing Up Bobby. The DVD is a Christian themed ‘comedy’ that involves the search of a dysfunctional family to discover who they really are. There is if you will; a search for meaning and purpose. On the surface, this is a great question for a movie theme. In Bringing Up Bobby the story involves a family who has been orphaned and is after some 12 years now going through a estate settlement as to who gets what from the estate. In the process, long lost relatives show up wanting their share of whatever from the estate. Thrown in for good measure are a sort of love story or two and a great deal of intended slap stick.

One of the troubling aspects of this movie is the cast actually shows a lot of potential. There are moments this largely unknown cast are quite good in their roles. This is troubling for various reasons, while the script and story had potential, the direction and story clearly falls short and there seems to be a lack of understanding to the real world surroundings. While there is an attempt to mirror aspects of the real world, it just doesn’t resemble the world I have lived in and experienced, and I have had many interactions with various population groups, including Goth’s as presented in the movie. Most of the time the slap stick just doesn’t work, and I didn’t even have a chuckle or two. Sadly, if watching this with friends, I may have found myself more embarrassed than entertained. There was the potential and possibility, but I found it offensive. This movie reminded me of a goofy youth pastor at a church, one who hasn’t lived in the real world, and one that isn’t that effective of reaching others outside of their faith.

In Bringing Up Bobby, we see the development of certain characters and their questions of faith and their discovery of who they are and what they believe. The search they are involved in just isn’t believable. There is one character that has a minor role that is somewhat thought provoking. Adam Misenko plays the part of Eric and brings some reality to the story. Eric lives in a troubled home, is in search for family and is a Goth. This subplot is interesting and thought provoking, unfortunately, his story doesn’t make for a comedy, and the tragedy of his experience detracts from the intent and style of the movie. While there are some good scenes involving his character explored in the film, the real strength of this storyline just isn’t explored in a satisfactory way.

The questions raised in Bringing Up Bobby are appropriate questions, that could have had real humor mixed into the story. How does one discover who they really are? How does one find meaning? How and why does family take advantage of family? What does it mean to be honest and love one another? All are adequate themes and while there is some minor exploration of this, the plot just isn’t well developed. We do see an honest portrayal of the search in the character of Nick. He is a representation that for some, no matter how wonderful we think our faith may be; there are those who live in and have tough and difficult lives. We do see the sacrifice of love portrayed by Bobby and his older brother James. It is just too little too late to make a real difference for where Nick is at.

I respect the intent of the makers to make a movie like this. I didn’t like it though, in fact, it may be one of the worst movies I have seen in a very long time. I am not the only one though, the ratings at IMDB is consistent with what I would rate this movie. When having a cast with the potential as this cast did, there needed to be more attention dedicated to the telling of the story. I would have preferred a serious subject matter dealing with the issues addressed, with a touch of comedic moments here and there, as opposed to the slap stick style I frankly just found offensive. Don’t get me wrong, I love good slap stick, I just don’t think this played well in this story. I do think there is potential in the makers of this movie; obviously I would say the casting of the film was quite good, as the discovery of a very good group of unknown actors is quite an accomplishment. Doing something with them that will translate in a real way would be appreciated.

The DVD does have a pretty good selection of items on the special features. There are some pretty good outtakes quite a bit funnier than the movie. I just don’t think I would have been happy with my purchase of this, no matter how good the outtakes and special features are. Will I watch a film from this group again? Quite likely the answer is yes, there is at least promise, promise I hope they develop, and hopefully with some of the same cast.

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