Morris from America Movie Review
If a girl invites you to a party and proceeds to shoot you in the crotch with a squirt gun, she's probably just not that into you. But that doesn't stop 13-year-old Morris from doing what 13-year-olds do when encountering an attractive female: crush on her anyway.
Markees Christmas delivers a fabulous near-debut performance as the title character in Morris from America (now on Blu-ray), an entertaining and engrossing comedy-drama about a young black American teenager stuck in a small German town, whose only real friend is his language teacher (Carla Juri).
Lina Keller deserves attention for what could be the most challenging role in the film, a blend of love interest and villain. You’re never sure whether you want Morris to win her over and make her a better person, or for him to drop her for the many ugly things she does; she’s an interesting character, one that easily could have swung too far in either direction without the proper talent.
Craig Robinson also stands out as Morris’s father, giving what could be the best performance of his career.
Morris from America isn't quite a coming of age movie, but it is a well written story about a boy discovering how to find himself--and learning some hard lessons along the way. Christmas carries the film well, which walks a fine line between comedy and drama. More serious than funny, but more lighthearted than serious, Morris from America is simply a crowd pleasing film, one that relies on interesting characters and a simple but utterly relatable story.
Every scene works thanks to the solid screenplay and tight direction by Chad Hartigan. He rarely strikes with emotional punches, but when he lands them, he hits hard. The final scene between Morris and his father is pitch-perfect.
Morris from America isn't groundbreaking, but it's a satisfying piece of entertainment nonetheless.
Morris from America is now on Blu-ray.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.