With: Ioan Gruffudd, Toni Collette, Richard E Grant
Thinking of a syrupy film to surprise your mother with this Christmas? Look no further than Foster!
Though it seems hard to tell who this is aimed at really. Children or grandparents may ask is this aimed at my demographic? We see Alec and Zooey played by Ioan Gruffudd and Toni Collette, who have a lovely Celtic relationship going, but discover they can't have a child biologically.
Then along comes Eli, played by newcomer Maurice Cole. He arrives at their doorstep and claims to have been sent from the orphanage they just visited the day before. They go along with this and the boy turns out to be a curious specimen. Watching this character, we get a firm sense of what Frasier Crane would have been like as a child, had he been English, ginger and wore glasses. Though supportive and informative he emerges as a major irritant in my eyes.
It really breaks my heart to say this, but this is the type of child that would of got bullied in school, something else old Frasier could relate to. His views are very agreeable and has some charming moments. As the film progressed, I found myself saying 'Is their anything thing this little bugger can't do?' I even sniffed at the scene in which he was able to use a taxi without a consenting adult.
A highlight is the scene in which young Eli does a pitch to a room full of businessmen to help Alec's failing toy company (who's logo brings to mind Willy Wonka). His delivery and presentation are masterly, as if the boy had been doing it for years.
[Sub-Ed Note: Spoiler Alert!]
But the true identity of Eli is slowly revealed in the film, as he's sent as an angel to see if the couple are worthy of their own child. This involves a bizarre turn from Richard E Grant as a tramp also in on the angelic assessment.
The heart-warming ending is undoubtedly played for tears. As Zooey realises the boy true intentions and like all good angels, is long gone by this point, on Christmas Day no less. The scene is altogether rounded of with an ooooing chorus and slow motion sequences.
This film would appeal to the Richard Curtis crowd or those just after a mushy Brit flick. I can see this as TV fair during the festive season on BBC1. Not much more than that.
Foster is released on DVD on Monday 5th November 2012