Pay It Forward

Is it possible for one idea to change the world?
Is it possible for one idea to change the world?

PAY IT FORWARD (12)

D: Mimi Leder
Warner Bros./Bel Air/Tapestry (Steven Reuther, Peter Abrams & Robert Levy)
US 2000
122 mins
 
Drama
 
W: Leslie Dixon [based on the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde]
DP: Oliver Stapleton
Ed: David Rosenbloom
Mus: Thomas Newman
 
Kevin Spacey (Eugene Simonet), Helen Hunt (Arlene McKinney), Haley Joel Osment (Trevor McKinney), Jay Mohr (Chris Chandler), James Caviezel (Jerry), Jon Bon Jovi (Ricky McKinney), Angie Dickinson (Grace)
 

The Citizen Kane of "Oscar bait" movies, even told in a round-the-house non-linear narrative as a reporter is on the mysterious case of people doing nice things for complete strangers to discover what the hell is going on in 21st century America. People being nice to each other? What kind of witchcraft is this?

The source happens to be a schoolboy who invents "good deeds" as the homework assignment his teacher requested when he asked his pupils to think of ways to make the world a better place.

The story has its heart in the right place and may have the big puppy dog eyes and wag its tail incessantly, but the sheer mawkish cheesiness of it all makes it impossible to provoke a real emotional reaction. A good idea is lost here, better writing and better direction could have made a better movie.

4/10

Haley Joel Osment in Pay it Forward
Haley Joel Osment in Pay it Forward