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Mainstream - August Rush

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August Rush

Freddie Highmore, Kerri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Directed by Kirsten Sheridan
Warner Home Video 2008
113 minutes

August Rush is meant to be a movie about the magic of music. It could have been as magical as it aspired to be. Unfortunately, if there is a heart string this movie doesn't tug it sure isn't because it does not have the heavy, ham handed, corny, melodramatic compendium of clichés sledge-hammered to pluck said heart string and break it. I really believe the writers sat down with director Kirsten Sheridan and came up with a list of all the movie scenes that made them cry and then used Dicken's Oliver Twist construct to tie everything together, somewhat, and make a story, sort of.

Shy and reserved classical musician (Kerri Russell) meets fab Irish singer dude with a James Blunt voice (Rhys Meyer). They fall madly in love on a New York City rooftop. The next morning Cinderella must leave in a rush but she and prince charming arrange to meet in Washington Square at 10. Enter domineering stage father and cancelled rendez-vous. Princess and prince both go to Washington Square from time to time but never, of course, at the same time though they never give up hope (and never ever in a million years think of putting up a flyer on the lamp posts). Oh, and the girl got knocked up from that one and only wonderful night  and gave birth to a music wizard the girl's stage dad gives up for adoption.

Fruit of the loins of two musicians, orphan not only hears music everywhere and manages to share it with the viewer on the soundtrack but magically and immediately learns how to write notes on music sheets only so he can become an instant magician at the church organ, pedals, stops, and all, in five minutes to play his composition. Disbelieve it or not it gets even more unbelievable after that.

To make a very long 113 minute you've-got-to-be-kidding-me story short: kid escapes to NYC convinced his parents are alive and looking for him, meets a Fagin / Bill Sykes character (Robin Williams) and is renamed August Rush and made to play the streets for money.

Will kid come across one of his parents in Washington Square? Will that parent come across the other some 10 years later? Will they live happily ever after? Well, DUH!

If a movie was ever ripe for accurate product placement, this one is it. Kleenex could have put boxes of its tissues in just about every bloody scene. A good marketing coup would have been to include one free with the other.

August Rush is supposed to be about the magic of music but there are so many obvious mirrors and the smoke is so think that magic and the good performances all around get sucked into a black hole of disbelief.

If your idea of therapy is having a good cry, this DVD will do it. Otherwise, skip it.

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