Here are 18 leaps of faith any viewer must make in order to enjoy Rob Reiner’s new film, The Magic of Belle Isle:
- That the decision to name a movie about an attractive divorcee and a man who represents his own island The Magic of Belle Isle is not a very poor choice of metaphor.
- That the appropriate reaction after an unruly drunk in a cowboy hat fires off two warning shots from a gold-plated pistol in the middle of your six-year old’s birthday party is to break into laughter and say, “Well, I guess it’s time for cake!”
- That the idea of a drunk, aging writer who has lost the narrative thread is not one of the most played-out cliches in all of Hollywood.
- That naming your daughter Willow Tree is not a silly, pretentious thing to do.
- That doggy humor is not the screenwriter’s equivalent of mailing it in.
- That full-grown men who are mentally handicapped hop around like bunny rabbits all day long.
- That full-grown men who are mentally handicapped can be programmed to stop hopping around like bunny rabbits at the drop of a hat.
- That it’s not the least bit odd that the full-grown man with a mental handicap in this film has the same first name as Rob Reiner’s father, Carl.
- That a proud and brilliant black writer would choose to devote his life’s work to singing the praises of a wild west cowboy as the personification of wholesome American values.
- That a proud and brilliant black man who writes about cowboys would just so happen to be named Monte Wildhorn.
- That an entire town would collectively wrap its arms around a miserable old drunk who tells each of them to fuck off in no uncertain terms, because they’re all just such wonderfully, well-adjusted human beings.
- That Fred Willard is not horribly miscast here.
- That all birthday clowns are pissy, arrogant, grizzled assholes.
- That mothers don’t get the least bit aggravated when their daughters go digging through their childhood diaries.
- That completely irrational fairytale endings are always the best way to go.
- That the song “Don’t Worry, Baby” belongs anywhere in this film.
- That Rob Reiner was once the director of an Oscar-nominated film.
- That this film would’ve been the least bit coherent had it not been for Morgan Freeman.
(The Magic of Belle Isle is now available on Video on Demand with a national theater release scheduled for July 6th.)