There was good reason why John Irving backed out as writer of this film, which is loosely based on his best-selling A Prayer for Owen Meany. (He also insisted that the title character's name be changed.) Dwarf Simon Birch (Smith), who has survived despite the odds, thinks he's an instrument of God who's on Earth to fulfill a heroic purpose, though this comes into question when he accidentally kills his best friend's mother with a line drive. Joe Mazzello plays his best friend who is desperate to determine the identity of his father. A treacly tale that drowns in pathos. And in case you don't know when to shed a tear, the schmaltzy score provides the cues.
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