Sep. 28, 2011 - Issue #832: Jennifer Castle
Eleven-year-old Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) happens upon a stranded dolphin one day and ends up trying to nurse it—after its infected tail's been amputated—back to health at a marine hospital which will soon be sold. The search for a prosthetic tail is a charming twist; Sawyer's newfound passion bubbles up nicely.
But lazy moments—snarkiness toward a teacher, Sawyer telling off his wounded-vet cousin for being selfish and the self-congratulatory big event at film's end that smacks us in the head with patriotism, instant community support and super-duper feel-goodness—drag the story down. Even the amputee angle seems softened: Sawyer's cousin hasn't lost a limb and a legless child who visits the dolphin comes off as insta-Tiny-Tim. Running during the credits, documentary footage of child amputees who visited the re-flippered fish only makes the movie that came before seem like a bit of an easy paddle through not very deep waters.
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