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12 year-old Walter (Haley Joel Osment) is dumped by his mother Mae (Kyra Sedgwick) at the Texas ranch owned by his eccentric uncles Hub (Robert Duvall) and Garth (Michael Caine). According to local legend, Hub and Garth have a hidden stash of millions on their ramshackle property, and the hostile reception they give to strangers leads Walter to believe in the story. As summer progresses, the fearsome-looking uncles gradually warm to the great-nephew theyíve never met before and begin to share tall tales and their wisdom with the introverted youngster.

Review by Richard Kuipers:
What can you say about a film that expects us to like a couple of grumpy old codgers who sit on the porch and take pot-shots at anyone who dares set foot on their property? Desperate to be loved, this sentimental tale gives nostalgia a bad name as shy young Walter (Haley Joel Osment) has to put up with Michael Caineís poor approximation of a Southern accent and Robert Duvallís ham fisted attempt to slip on the overalls and play an older, wiser version of the Boo Radley character he played 40 years ago in To Kill A Mockingbird.†

There will be some audiences whoíll sit happily glazed in front of the soft hues and whimsical tone of this coming of age tale but anyone looking for characters and situations even remotely connected to the real world will be sorely disappointed. Itís not the tall tales of Hub and Garthís amazing alleged adventures that are the problem itís the endless procession of heart-warming scenes and cracker-barrel philosophy in the present that induces the cringing.†

As recalled by Walter as a grown man, Secondhand Lions is strictly second rate folksy and tries to give the impression that this young ladís life has been enriched by a golden summer with his crusty old uncles who may or may not have been part of Al Caponeís gang and may even have a fortune hidden around the ranch somewhere. If these two geezers werenít supposedly hiding a stash of cash itís hard to imagine anyone wanting to pay them a visit.†

Did anyone, anywhere really have relatives like these old coots? The sickly sweet screenplay and direction of Tim McCanlies isnít even redeemed by the promising casting of Caine, Duvall and Osment. Caine and Duvall are as hammy as a porker on farmer Hoggettís property and Osment has that "child star at the crossroads" look about him. His attempts to be cute, sensitive and awe inspired by this magical summer are scuttled by decidedly adolescent looks in a role crying out for a younger performer. If the parts heís offered donít improve, Osment may want to take a leaf out of Jodie Fosterís book and knuckle down at school before venturing back into the movies.

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CAST: Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Haley Joel Osment, Kyra Sedgwick, Nicky Katt, Josh Lucas

PRODUCER: David Kirschner, Corey Sienega

DIRECTOR: Tim McCanlies

SCRIPT: Tim McCanlies


EDITOR: David Moritz

MUSIC: Patrick Doyle


RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 26, 2004

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: September 23, 2004

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