Same "Shue" on a different foot

June 5, 2007, midnight | By Betsir Zemen | 16 years, 8 months ago

"Gracie" fails to say anything new

"Gracie" is yet another inspirational film, with the tried and trite "girl tries to join boy's sports team" plot line. A few added tweaks to the plot, including the 1970's time period and the death of a family member do little to increase the appeal of the overall cliché movie.

In South Orange, New Jersey, 16 year-old Gracie Bowen (Carly Schroeder) is the only girl in a soccer-obsessed family of three brothers. When her older brother Johnny is killed in car accident, she decides to fill the void on his high school varsity soccer team by petitioning the school board to allow her to play in his place.

With her father (Dermot Mulroney) already out to prove she's not tough enough, and her mother being of no help, Gracie is placed in the all-too-familiar "me against the world" situation. Highly reminiscent of the previous "Bend it Like Beckham" and "She's the Man," "Gracie" is the same story in a different setting, but lacks the comedy that made "Bend it Like Beckham" and "She's the Man" hits.

The movie is based loosely on life of the Shue family, whose members produced, directed and acted in the film. Elisabeth Shue, Gracie's real-life persona, plays Gracie's mother. The film is directed by Shue's Academy Award-winning husband Davis Guggenheim and produced by her brother.

Maybe if the movie had been based more realistically on the Shue's story, viewers would find the heart to appreciate the film's "never give up" message. But, Elisabeth Shue didn't even play soccer past junior high, and her brother died from injuries in a tree-climbing accident, not a car crash. Another deviation from the real world is when soccer is portrayed far more viciously in the film than it actually is. Getting kicked in the face is not allowed in real soccer, but viewers would be surprised at what violent soccer action takes place in the film.

"Gracie," just another "feel-good sports movie", doesn't have the comedy or heart it needs to make it a hit.

Gracie (1 hour 35 minutes) is rated PG-13 for brief sexual content. It is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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