Secondhand Lions is a ”family” adventure picture about how guns are funny, kids with guns are funnier, and Arab stereotypes are funniest of all. If you can get past all that…well, it still isn’t very good, despite a compelling message about the all-important intergenerational bequest of tales – tall, true, or both.
Haley Joel Osment, now 15 and dressed in what appear to be Wil Wheaton’s hand-me-downs, plays Walter, a teenager so awkward he seems to be suffering from joint problems. (Maybe that’s just how kids walked in the early ’60s.) He’s a mama’s boy with the wrong mama (Kyra Sedgwick, Southern-fried and floozy-fied): She abandons Walter at the dilapidated Texas ranch of great-uncles Hub (the thunderous Robert Duvall) and Garth (Michael Caine, corralling a highly unstable twang), reclusive, shotgun-toting eccentrics with far-fetched stories of hard-won Arab treasures to account for their mysterious wealth. ”Just because something may or may not be true doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe in it,” Hub counsels Walter. But with no baseline ”truth” to be found among the cartoony characters and cheesy twists, the whole production feels like a Texas-size load of secondhand lyin’.