Pay it Forward
"Pay It Forward" felt a hell of a lot like a guy jumping up and down on a diving board. There I am, watching this guy hop up and down on the board, thinking to myself, "Hm, I wonder if he knows there's no water in the pool?" What I'm hoping is that he'll just keep jumping, but in fact, toward the end he leaps off the diving board, into the empty pool, and splatters the contents of his head all over the concrete like an M-80 in a Jell-O mold.
Is it just me, or does anybody else see some hypocrisy in Hollywood trying to teach us moral lessons? By the time this film was over, I felt like I had just been a pallbearer at Oprah's funeral. It was also like sitting through a very long X-rated movie where you can hear some guy masturbating behind you, then during the money shot you suddenly realize he's ejaculated all over the back of your head. Not that that's ever happened to me, mind you.
In this case, the masturbators are director Mimi ("Deep Impact") Leder and screenwriter Leslie Dixon, who can't seem to keep their moral spooge off the back of my sensitive head. Their little white messenger is the ever-so-cute Trevor (Haley Joel Osment), who comes up with this great idea, at the behest of his social studies teacher Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey), to do life-altering favors for three people and then demand that those people do three favors for three other people -- and so on, and so on, and so on. Next thing you know, Jews are hugging Arabs and all is right with the world.
The melodrama in this disgusting, insulting heap of filmmaking includes Simonet, whose face is burned just enough so Trevor's mother, Arlene (Helen Hunt), doesn't scream like an electrocuted monkey when she goes to kiss him. Of course, she has her problems -- she's a drunk. Then there's poor Trevor's real father -- another drunk -- who beats Arlene whenever he's around long enough. Naturally, the result of all this misery is perfect closure, absolutely perfect closure. Everything has a pat answer, as we find out. Nothing could possibly be left unsolved or unfelt or unanswered. For all its good intentions, "Pay it Forward" is like one of those 100-page self-help novels which I would rather use as toilet paper than read.
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