Because of Winn-Dixie

Bomb Rating: 

This movie is so literal it made me want to puke. Actually, I did almost puke, but I just sort of did that thing where the puke comes up a little bit and your cheeks puff out and you spew a bit. Fortunately, the five or so ten-year-olds sitting in front of me who got some breakfast burrito bits in their hair didn't seem to notice.

This is one of those so-called "family friendly" films, which means that the filmmakers beat you over the head with the film's message so bluntly and relentlessly that the entire family loses both its free will and the will to live. One of the little girls in the film actually says toward the end, as they're having a party, "We're having a party and the theme is this dog." If there had been anything left in my stomach at that point, I would have spewed more.

Opal (Annasophia Robb) finds a dog and names it Winn-Dixie (after the grocery store chain that recently declared bankruptcy) and convinces her preacher father (Jeff Daniels) to let her keep it. Then, throughout the rest of the film, Winn-Dixie leads her all over town and introduces her to new people. Opal and her father have just moved to town and Opal doesn't have any friends. So basically, the dog ends up bringing all these people together and eventually motivates her father to explain to Opal what happened to Opal's mother. He does this right after telling Opal "I love Winn-Dixie too!" after the dog goes missing during a thunderstorm. Among Opal's new friends are a blind, black woman (Cicely Tyson) who seems strangely ostracized from the rest of the town, an ex-con guitar player (Dave Matthews), and a librarian (Eva Marie Saint).

There's saccharine writing and then there's writing that, if you could liquefy it and inject it into the five-year-olds watching this thing, would launch them into space. This is the latter.

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