Director Sean McNamara seems to have decided that his place in life is to take truly inspirational real life stories and give them a phony Hollywood gloss. He did it just a few years ago with the dreadful movie ‘Soul Surfer’ and he has done it again with ‘Spare Parts’. Luckily, he seems to have learned a few lessons that make this outing a more sure footed depiction. The biggest of those lessons being that the camera doesn’t need to shoot all over the place or cut at ninety miles an hour to create drama. Life is dramatic on its own.
He also seems to be a bit more interested in humor this time around. This is good considering the film revolves around Latino kids in a under achieving school and all the preconceived notions that come with that. Sadly, the only Latino actor they could get to fill the lead role was George Lopez. Lopez just seems to have settled into the generic good guy Hispanic of the screen for the rest of his life and therefore never registers as anything for me. His humor is dry and boring. Always has been. Which just leaves his dramatic marks and those are pretty thin.
I guess I will say that he is serviceable as a temp teacher who’s not really a teacher per se, but gets the job because nobody else wants it. This always seems to be the case in these feel good movies about inner city kids. Do you think that our schools are really this one dimensional? I’m pretty sure it’s a bit more complicated, but digging into reality might take time and distract from the Hollywood cliche’s.
Anyways, the teachers name is Fredi Cameron and he’s actually just an engineer who needs a job. After a few scenes of ticking off the standard difficulty of the inner city school system, Fredi becomes acquainted with a group of kids who want to join an underwater robotics competition. Within little time the movie is rolling right into these kids one dimensional lives and painting a picture we have all seen a million times. It’s almost like you know every single thing that’s going to happen in this movie for every character within minutes of meeting them.
Luckily for most audiences, this movie does have a kind heart and the clichéd humor will likely land the laughs it wants. The general public seems to eat this stuff up and I guess that’s better than eating up the clichéd horror pics each year. However, I can’t help wondering how good these true stories like this would be if they were told more honestly. They certainly wouldn’t garner the family friendly MPAA rating, but at least they would be honest and maybe we wouldn’t feel like we know how it all ends before we see it. Sadly, that will continue to be my wish.