Prince Of Central Park

An emotionally repressed woman befriends a boy who's fled the Staten Island projects for a cave in Central Park in this would-be whimsical romp, which has the dubious appeal of a preachy Afterschool Special. World-weary 12-year-old JJ (Frankie Nasso) is haunted by memories of his terminally ill mother, Annelise, and suspects that his foster mother, Mrs....read more

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An emotionally repressed woman befriends a boy who's fled the Staten Island projects for a cave in Central Park in this would-be whimsical romp, which has the dubious appeal of a preachy Afterschool Special. World-weary 12-year-old JJ (Frankie Nasso)

is haunted by memories of his terminally ill mother, Annelise, and suspects that his foster mother, Mrs. Ardis (Cathy Moriarty), has deliberately kept him from seeing his mother while pocketing the state funds intended for his care. Following a nasty squabble in which JJ accidentally knocks out

Mrs. Ardis, he collects his things and heads to Central Park. Thugs attempt to steal JJ's prized keyboard, but an eccentric park dweller known as "The Guardian" (Harvey Keitel) rescues him. Upon discovering JJ's musical talents, the Guardian (who owes a literary debt to the bilious troll in The

Three Billy Goats Gruff) decrees that he'll protect the boy in exchange for musical compositions. JJ is nevertheless repeatedly harassed by a sadistic hooligan (Mtume Gant), until Rebecca (Kathleen Turner) — shaken by the death of her own 14-year-old son — intervenes and takes a

beating for him. Predictably, JJ helps Rebecca and her husband (Danny Aiello) recover from their son's tragic death. Based on the 1974 novel by Evan H. Rhodes, this ostensible family drama is so preoccupied with adult issues that it never gets around to exploring JJ's new-found liberation or his

growing emotional attachment to Rebecca. Turner and Aiello's credible performances are mired in formulaic tedium, from which only Moriarty's over-the-top portrayal of a villainous floozy and Keitel's oddly earnest cameo manage to escape. Kids weaned on TOY STORY and HOME ALONE will find TV

writer-producer John Leekley's feature film debut about as compelling as an episode of Matlock.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: An emotionally repressed woman befriends a boy who's fled the Staten Island projects for a cave in Central Park in this would-be whimsical romp, which has the dubious appeal of a preachy Afterschool Special. World-weary 12-year-old JJ (Frankie Nasso) is h… (more)

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