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19th March
written by Mad Cow

Mad Cow’s Rating: cowbells2

USA Written and directed by Ann-Marie Schmidt and Brian Schmidt, first-time writer-directors.

It’s hard to tell whether this is a film for children or adults. While maybe too scary for children, it plays like a children’s film for the most part. Little boy Jojo is a hero in his adventure, overcoming harsh odds and insurmountable difficulties over and over. This could easily be done as a cartoon and would wear better if it were. Jojo live is like boy in a home movie, not an articulate actor. The home-movie-ish quality is enhanced by an adult voice-over pointing things out. “Jojo decides…” And so on, also resembling animal documentaries. It’s true that kids say the darnedest things but I confess that I usually enjoy those thinsgs when I actually know the kids. Little sister can’t talk yet so she just whines when she is not about to plunge off a cliff or be eaten by a wolf. Poop and pee as well as bug eating factor in.

The adults in the movie are either bad actors or cartoonish or both. Is it just me or is it weird to joke about children lost in the woods? I had hoped for something like the subtle French film shown at CIFF a few years ago about a little girl who hides in the woods instead of returning from vacation with her parents.

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