IT'S BECOME A RALLYING CRY: "Hollywood is out of touch with real American faith and family values! Why don't they listen and shoot a movie I can watch with my youth group and/or grandma?" You're in luck, Real America, 'cause director Sean McNamara and some writers from Baywatch and Baywatch Nights have heeded your call with Soul Surfer!
Helped out by big names like Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid (plus names of indeterminate size, like Kevin Sorbo), McNamara has dramatized the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a teenage competitive surfer who, after losing an arm in a shark attack, called upon her courage and faith in Jesus to competitively surf again without an arm.
Soul Surfer is less a movie than a bid to canonize Hamilton as a sort of modern American saint: In McNamara's telling, Hamilton (played by the annoyingly named AnnaSophia Robb) is a walking vessel for can-do attitude, get-up-and-go spunk, and utter selflessness. In fact, everything about Surfer—from Hamilton's pasteboard-perfect family to a climactic surf competition that goes to the buzzer—is so scrubbed of human imperfection that it refuses to challenge its audience at any turn. Enjoy your movie, Real America. It's really boring.