Wide Awake

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Children's, Drama, Religious

Excruciatingly well-intentioned family entertainment with a phony Twilight Zone twist, about a fifth-grader's search for God in the wake of his beloved grandfather's death. In his search for spiritual absolutes, Catholic schoolboy Joshua Beal (Joseph Cross) worries the hell out of his parents (Denis Leary and Dana Delany); annoys his supercilious sister...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Excruciatingly well-intentioned family entertainment with a phony Twilight Zone twist, about a fifth-grader's search for God in the wake of his beloved grandfather's death. In his search for spiritual absolutes, Catholic

schoolboy Joshua Beal (Joseph Cross) worries the hell out of his parents (Denis Leary and Dana Delany); annoys his supercilious sister (Julia Stiles); confuses his friends, whose interests run more to girls and video games; and stumps his religious teachers, who are generally disinclined to engage

in rigorous theological debate with a 10-year-old. His only real confidants are Dave (Timothy Reifsnyder), his daredevil best friend, and Sister Terry (Rosie O'Donnell), a no-nonsense nun who's equally devoted to God and baseball. This movie's motives are so decent and gentle that it feels really

bad to say nasty things about it. But it's got the sticky, disingenuous tone of an inspirational lesson, and it's condescending to boot: Joshua's every little lesson -- bullies hurt people because they feel bad about themselves, it's not nice to be mean to fat kids, best friends can get sick, and

little children sometimes entertain angels unawares -- is first shown, then carefully explained in voice-over. Rosie O'Donnell's bracing freshness and genuine likability cut through the cloying stuff every time, but there's nowhere near enough of her to balance things out.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Excruciatingly well-intentioned family entertainment with a phony Twilight Zone twist, about a fifth-grader's search for God in the wake of his beloved grandfather's death. In his search for spiritual absolutes, Catholic schoolboy Joshua Beal (Joseph Cros… (more)

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