Webb back on safer ground
five-time Oscar winner Kramer vs. Kramer.
Working from a script by little known writer Tom Flynn – whose only previously penned film was 1993 comedy Watch It (which not many people did!) – Webb has crafted an endearing-but-predictable family drama.
The highlight is the believable bond between Evans and Grace. They say to never work with kids, but Evans has as much of a glint in his eye sharing scenes with the youngster as he does when trading quips with Robert Downey Jr.
You want Frank to end up being the one to look after Mary, not least thanks to an overthe-top, misguided turn by Edinburgh native Duncan’s (Alice in Wonderland) custody rival.
It’s always good to see Octavia Spencer, but Webb makes the cardinal sin of giving the Oscar winner very little to work with as Frank and Mary’s well-meaning neighbour Roberta.
The problem-solving abilities of Grace’s human calculator are never allowed to get too complicated to travel over our heads – this is no kid-friendly A Beautiful Mind.
One key decision by Frank feels too forced – and leads to an awkward moment that evokes memories of 1987 comedy Baby Boom in its manipulative attempt to test our tear ducts.
But even when Webb and Flynn overdo the sugar-coating, their lovable leading duo are there to save the day – and ensure Webb’s calculated risk of returning to the spotlight just about pays off.
Adding up to greatness Evans and Grace bond in Gifted