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Secondhand Lions (2003)

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Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, ... | OSMENT, CAINE, AND ROBERT DUVALL
Image credit: Secondhand Lions: Van Redin

Details Release Date: Sep 19, 2003; Rated: PG; Length: 107 Minutes; Genres: Comedy, Drama; With: Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Haley Joel Osment and Kyra Sedgwick; Distributor: New Line Cinema

Haley Joel Osment’s made a career out of playing fatherless boys, from ''The Sixth Sense'' to ''A.I.'' and ''Pay It Forward.'' Here, he’s at it again, starring as a fatherless boy whose eccentric mother (Kyra Sedgwick) sends him to live with his even more eccentric uncles in a small Texas town where typical behavior includes shooting fish with a rifle and keeping a lion as a pet.

Tim McCanlies, who made his reputation as a screenwriter on such projects as ''The Iron Giant,'' finished the script 10 years ago but refused to let anyone else direct it. “I think a lot of people would have put Jim Carrey in this with old makeup and made it a stupid comedy,” says McCanlies. But, he adds, “this is about something so important, and that is, ‘What do we teach boys?’”

Two years ago, ''Lions'' jumped studios -- from Warner Bros. to New Line -- and McCanlies, who made his directing debut with the 1998 low-budget comedy ''Dancer, Texas Pop. 81,'' finally got the green light. “People ask me, ‘So, is it a comedy? Is it a kids’ movie?’” says Michael Caine. “And I say, ‘It’s about life. And life includes tragedy, comedy, and children.’”

The Killer Moment When your pet is the king of the jungle, there's sure to be a killer moment or two.

Originally posted Aug 11, 2003 Published in issue #724-725 Aug 22, 2003 Order article reprints