All Square Review

All Square Poster

Sports films are nothing new in Hollywood. They can be inspirational, dramatic, or hilarious. But a sports film with an interesting premise, now that’s a rarity in Hollywood. That’s the case with John Hyams’ latest film, All Square. But is All Square a film that lives up to its intriguing premise?

Unfortunately, All Square doesn’t quite live up to the quirky premise. However, the film does have a sweet father and son style relationship that makes up for it.

All Square follows John, a down-on-his-luck small town bookie that befriends his ex-girlfriend’s son. Meanwhile, he also begins to take bets on the town’s little league games.

All Square - MIchael Kelly

Even though All Square is only an hour and a half long, the film feels like it’s longer than that. The film is full of exposition and narration about the town and gambling. At times, it looks as if it’s trying to imitate an Aaron Sorkin film. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t have that same wit and banter as an Aaron Sorkin script. As a result, the film is particularly uninteresting.

It’s a shame because the premise of the film had the chance to be something fun and quirky. Yet what we get is something that stale. However, that’s not to say that the film isn’t unentertaining. The film has plenty of hilarious moments where the townspeople act like gambling degenerate fools. Not to mention, there are several scenes that feature a funny situation. Unfortunately, these moments are far and few between.

Much of the film revolves around the relationship between John and Brian. For a film that relies on the relationship between an adult and a kid, the friendship feels a little forced. Although this friendship shouldn’t work at all. But if an unreliable sleazy adult mentoring an impressionable young kid can work in Role Models then it should’ve worked here. However, as the film progresses, this friendship starts to get better. It begins to feel like a father and son relationship.

All Square - Jesse Ray Sheps & Michael Kelly

Unfortunately, John isn’t a sympathetic character at all. All Square introduces some sympathetic elements to his storyline but audiences might not find his storylines to be sympathetic. That’s because his situation isn’t tragic nor is it sad. Not to mention, John just simply whines about it. On the other hand, Brian’s story is really sympathetic. He’s a kid that is going through a lot and doesn’t have much help from those around him.

Nevertheless, these sad stories give John and Brian some character depth that is sorely missing from everyone else. They may not be complex characters but at least they’re not one-dimensional characters.

At least, Michael Kelly plays John really well. Kelly gives a performance that’s sleazy and broken-down. At the same time, he also delivers a performance that’s parentally sweet. It’s an evolution that he seamlessly does well.

Jesse Ray Sheps also gives a fine performance as Brian. There are an inherent naivety and sweetness to his performance that makes Brian a person that you attach yourself to.

Overall, All Square is a film that doesn’t quite live up to its quirky premise. Nevertheless, the film has a sweet and loving “father” and son friendship that’ll make up for the lack of whimsicality.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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