Dave's Rating:

3.5

… a harmless and farfetched family movie …

Who's in It: Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce Dern, Bruce Willis, Max Thieriot

The Basics: A former astronaut turned Texas farmer dreams of going into space in a homemade rocket. His entire family thinks this is a good idea. The government, however, does not. They want to take his dream and stomp it into the dirt. But he perseveres and keeps dreaming. And because it's not based on a true story or anything, you can pretty much guess how it all turns out. It's a harmless and farfetched family movie, after all, and rebellious underdogs who dare to dream are frequently rewarded in harmless, farfetched family movies, as you probably know by now.

What's the Deal? Let's set aside the fact that people in movies who have dreams of doing something foolish are always annoying, if for no other reason than they can't stop telling every single person who crosses their path about their stupid dream. Worse, they go around naming their rocket DREAMER. But like I said, let's set that truly irksome stuff aside. The thing I kept thinking about during this otherwise perfectly sweet bit of fiction was, If this guy is going to launch his own rocket without telling anyone, isn't he going to take out about 47 commercial jet airliners in the process? Because you know NASA probably makes sure that airspace is cleared before they go and blast off a shuttle. But this issue is never addressed. Call me single-minded, but I couldn't let it go. I grew to hate this guy for being so thoughtless and irresponsible. What if it was me in that plane you crash into with your space-pod, Billy Bob? I'm already scared to fly as it is.

Who's Good, as Usual: Madsen, who's now one of Hollywood's go-to gals for taking on the role of the warm, foxy, middle-aged wife. She does the same thing in The Number 23, which also opened this week. This is what an Oscar nomination gets you in Hollywood, ladies. Come on out to L.A. and jumpstart that rewarding career in acting!

Starring the Entire Polish Family: It was written and directed by the Polish brothers, Mark and Michael, and co-stars Mark as a bemused, horseshoe-pitching FBI guy. And two little Polish daughters named Logan and Jasper (welcome to kids' names in Hollywood) play Billy Bob's daughters named Stanley and Sunshine (welcome to fake kids' names in Hollywood). To their credit, they sort of steal every scene they're in by being so dang cute.

How Many Times the Movie Makes a Reference to Billy Bob's Rocket Being "Huge," Thereby (Un)Intentionally Invoking the Long-Standing Hollywood Rumor About the Actor, a Rumor That Was Most Likely Started by His Former Main Squeeze, the One Now Famous for Adopting More Kids Than Mia Farrow and, Yes, Who Used to Wear a Vial of the Man's Blood Around Her Neck: Three.

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