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Secondhand Lions (PG)



Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Directors commentary; Deleted and alternate scenes with optional filmmaker commentary; Secondhand Lions: One Screenplay's Wild Ride in Hollywood; On The Set With Secondhand Lions; Haley Joel Osment: An Actor Comes of Age; Visual effects comparisons; Theatrical Trailer; TV spots.

WHETHER you want a handy half-term pleaser, or a few hours out of the rain, Secondhand Lions is a fine coming of age tale which will suit all tastes.

Starring Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) as Walter, an insecure 14-year-old boy being raised by his flaky mother, Mae (Kyra Sedgwick), the film starts with her dumping Walter on two Great Uncles he has never met - Hub (Robert Duvall) and Garth (Michael Caine).

The eccentric pair are not fond of relatives and have no interest in looking after Walter and the three get off to a rocky start.

Before leaving, Mae tells Walter that the Uncles are very wealthy and suggests he should try to find where they keep their money.

Their notoriety is fuelled by speculation as to how they acquired such wealth.

The rumours start from robbing banks to links with the Mafia. However, when Walter stumbles upon an old photo of a beautiful woman he unearths a story even more extraordinary involving sword fights, Princesses and treacherous sheiks.

With a mother who has no morals and consistently lies, Walter relishes these adventures, where honour is prized higher than money and belief is everything.

The Uncles also begin to soften towards him and the three embark on their own adventures.

Before too long, Mae returns with a new fiance, determined to get the money.

Written and directed by Tim McCanlies, this is a lot of fun as well as being about respect and compassion between generations.

It does get over sentimental at the end, although this can be forgiven thanks to the excellent performances.

Duvall is especially good as the hard-hitting tough guy, whose bravest battle is with old age.

Osment instantly wins you over as the vulnerable, geeky nephew, who hasn't had much of a childhood.

And Caine works well against Duvall by being slightly gentler, but still an old grump. The only downside was his Texan accent!

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