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Son of Rambow - family and children's DVD / comedy DVD review
SON OF RAMBOW Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Bill Milner, Will Poulter, Jules Sitruk, Jessica Stevenson, Neil Dudgeon
Director: Garth Jennings   Studio: Paramount Vantage
DVD release: 26 August 2008   Runtime: 95 min. (1 disc)
Format: Widescreen, Color, Anamorphic, NTSC
DVD features: Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround; Spanish - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), Subtitles (English, Spanish), Audio commentary, "Boys Will Be Boys," Previews

Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is a skinny, quiet kid who spends much of his time alone. He draws pictures and makes up stories to fill his mind with adventure. He lives with his mother (Jessica Hynes), grandmother and sister, and they belong to a strict religious organization that will not allow much in the way of technology. Cars are okay, but music and television are not allowed. Will must leave the classroom when educational videos are shown at school, so he sits in the hall and draws. This is where he meets Lee Carter (Will Poulter), who's been thrown out of class for being disruptive with a tennis ball.

Lee is a bully and a bad student, and if the teachers aren't afraid of him yet, they will be in a few years. Lee pelts Will with a tennis ball, and the boys get into trouble for breaking a fish tank. What seems an unlikely union turns into the best friendship either one could have hoped for. Lee lives without parents to give him any guidelines, and Will is given guidelines by an extended family of Plymouth Brethren - his father died while mowing the lawn, and the Brethren are pretty patriarchal.

When he views a bootleg copy of Sylvester Stallone's First Blood, it sets off an explosion of creativity in Will like a handful of Mentos in a Diet Coke. Lee has been making a demo tape for a young filmmaker's contest, but Will offers a storyline. Will would play the Son of Rambo (though he misspells it by adding a w at the end), who must rescue Rambo from the bad guys. The vision Will imagines bursts into life as though the pictures he's drawn are no longer able to be contained by the paper on which they're drawn. The boys work together on filming all kinds of dangerous stunts and become closer as the camera rolls.

A busload of French exchange students arrive, and one of them, Didier (Jules Sitruk), immediately has the school in the palm of his hand. He decides he wants to be in Will and Lee's movie and manages to do so, bringing his entourage with him. This puts a strain on the Will and Lee's friendship and threatens to ruin their film.

Son of Rambow brings some childhood magic to the screen. Though it may not perfectly capture the early 1980s, it has such heart that it doesn't matter.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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