The Kid Brother
Vanguard // Unrated // $29.95 // September 24, 2002
Review by Todd Siechen | posted September 30, 2002
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Graphical Version
This is the story of Kenny Easterly, a 13 year-old parapalegic boy whose appearance is very unusual. He is a normal kid in every way except for his lack of legs. He has a normal relationship with his brother Eddy (Jesse Easterly), but his sister Sharon Kay (Liane Alexandra Curtis) had a problem with Kenny at his birth and ran away. 13 years later she returns to live at home again only to find that things arent as rosy as she had hoped for. Kenny misses her and wants to find out why she left again so he runs away from home to her sisters apartment in Philadelphia to get some answers.

This films takes a long time to get going and the conflict is presented way too late in the film. By the time we find out why Kenny sister Sharon Kay originally ran away from home its the end of the movie. There is times in the film that Kenny is pressured by his family to get prosthetic legs so he will appear more normal. This doesnt seem to come as a result of any displayed emotion on the part of the main characters so I was left wondering why we are being shown this. There is also a scary scene where Kenny is almost attacked by a dog but his father comes to his rescue and violently kills the dog with a baseball bat. The dogs owner is yelling and screaming but again this leads us nowhere in the story except the fathers decision to move the family to another city.

The first 30-40 minutes of the film is a french filmmaker doing a documentary on Kenny's life, but this doesnt seem relevant to any points in the story that come later. Aside from Caitlin Clarke who plays the mother Sharon, and Zach Grenier who plays the father Jesse (look for him in the series '24' as Carl Webb) the performances are amateur. Kenny Easterly is a likeable kid and It was easy to get interested in him, but their was little of the typical conflict I expected to see in a story about a handicapped kid.

VIDEO: 1.33:1 Full frame. This film looks as if it was shot on 16mm film stock. Its really lacking in any detail or color richness. Its very flat looking and shaky. The cinematography isnt too terrible, but the film quality and transfer itself just looks like a kids school project film.

AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2 channel track that sounds thin. English is the only language track with no subtitles.

MENUS: The menu designs are static simple and easy to navigate.

BONUS MATERIALS: None

Final Thought: "the Kid Brother" was a disappointment. There just wasnt enough to hook the audience in early in the story. The good drama doesnt happen until the very end of the movie. These scenes should have been placed earlier in the film for their to be a progression towards a resolution. Its like the whole movie happens in the last 15 minutes.


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