War is hell says Home of the Brave, and if you're Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, so is acting. Fiddy gets a leg up from typecasting as Jamal Atkins, one of four demoralized veterans of Operation Enduring Fuckup, home from Iraq to a world of pain. How to handle back problems, bureaucratic indifference, memories of slaughtered innocents? And a boo that don't talk to him no mo'? Keep it gangsta! Take a burger joint hostage. Like everyone else in Irwin Winkler's beyond-earnest weepy, homeboy hurts and means it; the film is as sincere as a three-legged puppy. Less Prestige Picture du Jour than Movie of the Week, Home of the Brave has a heart that's in the right place -- but did it have to be placed so far out on the sleeve, and must it bleed so profusely? As for its mind, it's not so much that the script by first-timer Mark Friedman has nothing new to say (which it doesn't), but that Winkler's emotional and technical resources are so middling that he settles for it, leaving cast (Jessica Biel, Chad Michael Murray, Samuel L. Jackson) and crew to glide through bromides, coast along on the facile and formulaic.
Irwin WinklerSamuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley, Christina Ricci, 50 Cent, Chad Michael Murray, Joyce M. Cameron, Victoria Rowell, Wes Deitrick, Jeffrey NordlingMark FriedmanIrwin Winkler, Rob Cowan, George Furla, Avi LernerMGM