Directed by Davis Guggeheim
Rated PG-13 for brief sexual content.
"Gracie" is the same old story, but tacks on an additional forty five minutes at the start which breaks away from the tone that it tries to get in the second forty five minutes. It is probably the strangest sports film I have seen-one that tries to aim at little children based on the advertisements, but is clearly more mature. Based on the young life of actress Elizabeth Shue, "Gracie" stars Carly Schroeder (who was amazing in "Mean Creek") as the title character. The only girl out of a bunch of boys, Gracie has often stayed on the bench while her soccer-obsessed father gives intense training to his favorite son, Johnny. When Johnny is killed in a car crash, Gracie is torn, and her father is clearly just as bad, even if he doesn't show it. And Gracie decides to try and get over Johnny and give him a memorial by learning to play soccer and beating the team that Johnny could not.
The problems come before she begins playing soccer. To get her fathers attention she begins to flaunt herself in front of boys, lying about wanting sex and sneaking out in the middle of the night. This is where "Gracie's is heavy, and clearly is not aimed at young girls who like soccer. But then the second half becomes this magical sports film-Gracie patches things up with her father, tries to win the big game, someone makes a big speech-the works. It was like Shue's life turned into a big sports cliche. Director Davis Guggeheim is fresh off of his work in the Oscar winning "An Inconvenient Truth," but this is not impressive or really worth seeing at all. The awkward tone shifts tried to make this more edgy and a little different but it distanced the audience who wanted to see a soccer film. The acting was all up to standards, with young Carly Schroeder carrying the film very well, Dermot Mulroney as her father, and Elizabeth Shue herself as Gracie's mother, who is left to just standing outside of the action, often giving thoughtful little glances and knowing looks. "Gracie" is tolerable, but just more of the same, and when it isn't more of the same it is just strange to watch. The scripts tone is all over the place, and it made the film hard to get into.