Capsule reviews for Sept. 14

Last Ounce of Courage

Honoring the sacrifices of our soldiers is never a bad thing, so this wholesome melodrama has its heart in the right place, at least on the surface. But in reality, it’s a bait-and-switch that masquerades as inspirational drama while pushing a political agenda. It conveys a vague faith-based message about freedom through the story of a small-town mayor (Marshall Teague) whose son died in combat years ago, and who is convinced by his grandson (Hunter Gomez) to become a lobbyist for religious values. The laughably amateurish script by Darrel Campbell (who also co-directed and co-stars) is crippled by a heavy-handed approach that muddles its message. (Rated PG, 101 minutes).


Liberal Arts

This charming if uneven romantic comedy from writer-director Josh Radnor (Happythankyoumoreplease) also sees the filmmaker starring as Jesse, a 35-year-old man struggling with the transition to middle age when he is invited to speak at the retirement of an old college professor at his alma mater. The nostalgia washes away when he is introduced to Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen), a sophomore who develops an attraction to him. Radnor navigates some potentially tricky territory with some decent laughs and heartfelt relationship dynamics. Besides the endearing Radnor, best known for the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, the cast includes Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Zac Efron. (Not rated, 97 minutes).