As a big fan of the Feel Good Family Drama Film, I was a little disappointed by the fact that the filmmakers of this generally strong movie felt that I was a complete emotional cripple/moron.
The gut wrenching in Pay It Forward is so extreme and manipulative that it starts to feel like a caricature: when is the wounded orphaned puppy going to rescue the disturbed Vietnam vet from killing himself and his pet hamster?
The story revolves around an 11-year-old student whose social science project involves a sort of perpetual motion good karma machine, in which you “pay forward” good deeds instead of paying them back (get it?).
Once the flood gates of goodness are unleashed by this Amazing New Method, his teacher (Kevin Spacey) comes to terms with his plentiful ghosts and his overworked single-mother (Helen Hunt) takes in a homeless person. (Insert Sniffle Here).
As you would expect, the performances are strong, but because of American Beauty and what I know of Spacey’s real-life sex-life, I kept thinking that his middle-school teacher character was really a perv who wanted to get his joy bringing a star student into the broom closet.
Thinky says: For soft people on a soft, soft day.