It seems that for the most part, military movies are either a hit or a miss with little gray area in the middle to aim for.
This past weekend's release of "Annapolis," however, has managed to find a cozy little spot right in the middle of the two, leaning a little more toward hit if you're in a peppy mood. It's as far from an Oscar-worthy release as a flick can get, but still manages to keep out of the treacherous "Big Momma" category.
"Annapolis" is the story of Jake Huard, a kid from a Navy ship building family in Maryland whose dream has always been to make it to the other side of the bay and find out what the final products are actually used for. Like all underdog stories, the only person who has ever believed in him is his mother, and she hasn't been alive for quite some time.
Now that he's finally been accepted into the Navy, it's up to him to prove he's got something to offer, not only to the military, but to himself, his family and the gorgeous Jordanna Brewster who also happens to be his commanding officer.
It's really nice to see Jake portrayed by James Franco, who finally decided to step aside from his annoying role as Harry Osborn of the "Spiderman" flicks and do something impressive with himself. It's tough to call someone a good actor after he has played characters you can't stand in other films, but Franco managed to pull it off in this one. Not only does Jake show up to get things done, but has a heart of gold and never stops refusing to give up.
As much as I was entertained by the movie and for once never began to daydream about a life outside that theatre, it really didn't do much for me. The story just seemed so plain, and so predictable and so, well, cliche for lack of a fitting word. It was like every other underdog story that's ever been made for top-dollar in Hollywood rolled into one. Jake came into the Navy thinking he could do it his way, it pounded him down, made him want to quit, and then – 'abbra cadabra' the magic happened. The music starts, the montage of him and his Navy buddies overcoming their struggles rolls, and the big slow-motion ending of him kissing his problems goodbye rolls the credits. Cue sappy music, cue unavoidable tears of happiness, and cue me leaving the theatre, never needing to see this flick ever again. Not because it's a horrible movie, but because it'll probably be back in the theatres again, just with a different cast and slightly different story.
2 out of 5 rams