November 19, 2009

The Blind Side

One of these things is not like the others

Grade: D +

Director John Lee Hancock

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Lily Collins, and Kathy Bates

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes

Another tale of racial and cultural sanctimony masquerading as a story of hope and inspiration is the essence of The Blind Side, a Sandra Bullock vehicle about a well-heeled Memphis family who become guardian to a homeless, teenage man-child, Michael Oher (newcomer Quinton Aaron), in hopes of improving his life, grades, and, oh by the way, the gentle giant’s chances at a college scholarship to play offensive left tackle at the University of Mississippi.

Based on a true story and adapted from author Michael Lewis’ 2006 football-centric novel, director John Lee Hancock makes a point of emphasizing that Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy (Tim McGraw and Bullock) are conservative NRA-members, presumably so we won’t reflexively cast them as typical, liberal do-gooders. No problem, since the lone moment in this formulaic film that holds any complexity is when the NCAA investigates the Tuohys – rapid Ole Miss backers, coincidentally enough – and Big Mike’s high school coach for recruiting violations.

Of course, that conflict, like every other throughout the movie, dissipates in quick and cursory fashion. The cardboard cutout characters come to life only during a closing credits montage of the actual people involved. Until then, the rest of The Blind Side is like Bullock’s faux-Southern lilt: grating, trite, and phony.

Neil Morris

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