For his third film as director, J.D. Dillard adapts the 2017 biography Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by author Adam Makos. The film shortens the title to Devotion and introduces audiences to the comradeship between naval officers Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) during the Korean War.
The Loneliest Boy in the World is a harmless zombie yuk fest
Martin Owen dips into the book of Tim Burton for his latest film, The Loneliest Boy in the World, from Well Go Entertainment. After his mother’s sudden death and due to his father walking out on him, Oliver (Max Harwood) lives alone. One day his social workers, Julius (Evan Ross) and Margot (Ashley Benson), make a routine visit informing the sheltered and unsocialized teenager that he needs to make new friends.
Oliver decides that literally digging a few up might be his best bet. However, when he awakens the morning after his excavating escapades, he discovers that his newly acquired friends have mysteriously come to life overnight. Thus launching them all into a series of misadventures as they try to keep their secret safe from neighbors, classmates, and social workers.
The Loneliest Boy in the World has a screenplay by Piers Ashworth, who clearly has an appreciation for the sitcoms of the Golden Area of television. Susan Wokoma and Ben Miller portray Oliver’s new parents, Susanne and Frank, while Zeobia Williams portrays the wise-cracking kid sister Mel. However, the first person that Oliver digs up is Mitch (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), who steps into the role of cooler older brother/best friend.
One of the first things I want to point out about the film is the quirkiness vibe which, in essence, gives the film a vibe that you will either like or won’t. As I alluded to earlier, Tim Burton vibes fill the movie, as do eighties teen film cliches. It is inevitable that Oliver will learn how to stand up for himself and sweep his girl off her feet at a Halloween party. This same party will feature his new family members wearing masks that look like Alf since that is Oliver’s favorite show. Thankfully Max Harwood can carry the film in the manner required. I was also fond of the supporting cast that made up the film, particularly Evan Ross, who needs to tap into more bad-guy roles.
Using the standard sitcom format and extending it for 90 minutes, The Loneliest Boy in the World is a straightforward film with a simple yet charming story. It uses its plot to give us a different view of the nuclear family. Furthermore, it offers our hero a growth arc through his imagination.
Final Grade: C+
The Loneliest Boy in the World is in limited theaters on October 14 and on digital on October 18.
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