Reviewer's Rating 1 out of 5  
Secondhand Lions (2003)
PGContains some mild action.

Older doesn't always mean wiser. Take Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, two silver-haired thesps whose collective years are enough to make most pocket calculators blow a fuse, but who seem to be intent - judging by this clag-ridden outing at least - on spending their golden years feasting on turkey.

In Secondhand Lions, they play Garth and Hub McCaan, a pair of aging hillbillies in '60s America who sit about on their porch, drinking iced tea and taking pot shots at the local travelling salesmen with their trusty pump-action boom sticks. Then their teenage nephew Walter (Haley Joel Osment) comes to spend the summer and the old gits turn into grouchy paternal role models...


It's bad enough that Sir Michael's Southern drawl (more Rotherhithe than Red Rock) requires a leap of faith beyond the reach of most Olympic athletes, or that Duvall's ex-French Foreign Legion hard man practices his hand-to-hand combat on a bunch of punks in the local diner (go, granddad!), there's also a menagerie of animals (including a pig and the 'secondhand' lion of the title) thrown in for good measure and a series of flashbacks to the pair's adventures in 1920s Africa.

Joel's perpetually clenched features and beady eyes look like the after-effects of sitting on a vacuum cleaner, but it's quite possible they might just be an indication of his embarrassment: this schmaltzed up, dumbed down, bombastically-scored family drama of touchy-feely life lessons is enough to make any self-respecting human being pucker up their arse.


Meanwhile, Caine soldiers on with the kind of stiff upper-lipped purposefulness that only a man who has paid the mortgage several times over can muster. Duvall grumps about like a crotchety old git, surveying the family farm and delivering what may well be the most accurate (if unintentional) review any actor ever gave himself: "Corn, corn, nothing but corn!"

End Credits

Director: Tim McCanlies

Writer: Tim McCanlies

Stars: Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Hayley Joel Osment, Nicky Katt, Kyra Sedgwick

Genre: Drama

Length: 108 minutes

Cinema: 24 October 2003

Country: USA

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