Dolphin Tale Swims Into Family Audiences' Good Graces

Dolphin Tale Swims Into Family Audiences' Good Graces

DOLPHIN TALE

Genre: Family Drama

Premise: Misunderstood boy finds new meaning in life after he rescues a stranded dolphin and tries to help it swim again after losing its tail.

Behind-the-Scenes: Winter the dolphin plays herself in the movie.  Director Charles Martin Smith also acts, and is probably best known for American Graffiti and The Untouchables.

The Good:  Dolphin Tale is good-old fashioned family entertainment - like something Disney would have made in the early '70s starring Kurt Russell.  Earnest and simple take on a well-told tale.  Animal rights dramas haven't been this audience friendly since Free Willy.  Nathan Gamble settles comfortably into his role as the young boy, Sawyer, and acts in a pleasantly natural manner.

The Bad:  Harmless and inconsequential to a fault.  Morgan Freeman is slumming it in a paycheck role as the kindly old artificial appendage maker.  The attempts to shoehorn American patriotism into the script via a subplot involving Sawyer's older cousin, who has just joined the Army and shipped out overseas, is forced.  Too much country music on the soundtrack.

Should You See It?: Single folks and those without kids can probably skip it.  For family audiences, Dolphin Tale makes for a perfectly serviceable Saturday matinee trip to the movies.

Rating: *** out of 5 stars.

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