Movies

F

Wide Awake

Genre: Drama; Starring: Joseph Cross, Robert Loggia, Rosie O'Donnell; Director: M. Night Shyamalan; Author: M. Night Shyamalan; MPAA Rating: PG

WIDE AWAKE (Miramax, PG) It would be difficult to imagine a children’s film more stultifying than this inert piffle about a moptopped Catholic schoolboy (Joseph Cross) who loses his beloved grandfather (Robert Loggia) and then proceeds to spend the entire fifth grade searching for God. He’s looking in the wrong movie. Wide Awake has no higher power, no dramatic conflict, no characters, no scenes. It’s a series of wispy anecdotal fragments Scotch-taped together by Cross’ lispy-cute narration (sample coy witticism: ”If there were no school, there’d be no rules to break!”). Rosie O’Donnell, as a teacher who compares the Gospels to a baseball game, and Denis Leary, as Cross’ straitlaced dad, are on screen for about five minutes apiece, leaving the audience stranded with this vapid, moist-eyed kid pining for a Sign. The movie actually makes you long for the rockin’ entertainment value of a good catechism session. F

Originally posted March 27 1998 — 12:00 AM EST

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