DESTINY HAS BIG PLANS FOR LITTLE SIMON BIRCH.
12-year-old Simon Birch (Ian Michael Smith) grows up in the 1960s as an intelligent, stubborn outcast, suffering from arrested growth; he finds a friend however in the fatherless Joe (Joseph Mazzello). Director Mark Steven Johnson’s debut gets a shot in the arm from young Smith as the child who is convinced of the fact that God has a special plan for him; his acting is on a level of maturity one would not expect (Mazzello is also good as his buddy). There are bizarre elements, as always in John Irving’s stories, and the movie tugs at our heartstrings… but not enough to make me surrender completely to it.
1998-U.S. 113 min. Color. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Novel: John Irving (”A Prayer for Owen Meany”). Cast: Ian Michael Smith (Simon Birch), Joseph Mazzello (Joe Wenteworth), Ashley Judd (Rebecca Wenteworth), Oliver Platt, David Strathairn, Dana Ivey… Jim Carrey.
Trivia: Irving was allegedly dissatisfied with the film and wanted his name removed from the credits; he also requested the main character’s name to be changed. Sandra Bullock was allegedly considered for the part of Rebecca.