Love and Honor
There’s nothing subtle about this woefully earnest wartime drama that jettisons any attempt to realistically portray the perils of Vietnam either in the battlefield or on the homefront in favor of a glossy romance with more contemporary demographic goals in mind. The story follows a young soldier (Austin Stowell) who returns to his hometown along with his freewheeling best friend (Liam Hemsworth) in an effort to win back his girlfriend (Aimee Teegarden), who has turned into an anti-war activist. The attempt at gritty period re-creation seems half-hearted and unconvincing, the screenplay is strictly formula, and most of the primary actors have done better work elsewhere. (Rated PG-13, 96 minutes).
A rousing soundtrack helps to compensate for some of the historical embellishments in this Australian crowd-pleaser, based on the true story of four Aboriginal girls who defy racial obstacles to form a group of soul singers in 1968, then get their big break when their fledgling manager (Chris O’Dowd) leads them on a perilous journey to entertain American troops in Vietnam. The musical numbers provide the main highlight, along with performances that help overcome a script filled with fluffy sentimentality and predictable romantic subplots. The whole thing is heartfelt, even if it glosses over much of the potentially intriguing historical context in its story. (Rated PG-13, 99 minutes).
Essentially a one-joke premise is stretched far too thin in this French-Canadian comedy that juggles broad farce and forced sentiment without much subtlety along the way. It follows David (Patrick Huard), a middle-aged slacker who discovers that through a stint as a sperm donor several years back, he fathered 533 children, some of which have filed a lawsuit to learn his identity. Not wanting to be exposed, he instead awkwardly infiltrates their lives, learning lessons of responsibility along the way. It’s an amusing concept that isn’t given the necessary edge by writer-director Ken Scott, and that doesn’t bode well for his planned Hollywood remake, either. (Rated R, 109 minutes).