Posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 by Angie Han
A new trailer has been released for WWE Studios’ That’s What I Am, starring Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Molly Parker — and professional wrestler Randy Orton. Yup, it’s that WWE. The gargantuan sports entertainment corporation has been producing features through its filmmaking arm since 2002, including The Scorpion King (as co-producers), The Marine, and last year’s Legendary. That’s What I Am looks like a bit of a departure from the company’s earlier projects, in that it doesn’t seem to feature much in the way of action or wrestling. Watch the trailer after the jump.
That’s What I Am stars Chase Ellison as Andy, a typical eighth grader who learns lessons about courage and tolerance when he’s assigned to work with an unpopular geek (Alexander Walters). Harris plays Andy’s wise, compassionate English teacher, who faces troubles of his own when he becomes the target of a potentially destructive rumor. Madigan and Parker fill out the roles of the school principal and Andy’s mother, respectively. And Orton, here in his acting debut, plays the father of a class bully.
[via Punch Drunk Critics]
The phrase that immediately came to my mind as I watched this trailer was “old-fashioned.” Not so much because of the movie’s ’60s setting, but because of its unabashedly earnest tone. This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing; in many ways, I’d say the sincerity is actually preferable to the wink-wink-nudge-nudge sarcasm of, say, the Shrek franchise. My bigger problem with this trailer is how by-the-numbers it looks. The characters seem all too familiar, the lines have no subtlety whatsoever, and the message appears to have all the moral complexity of an after-school special — or, well, a WWE match.
That said, That’s What I Am doesn’t look entirely unpleasant. If the film’s biggest crimes are that it suffers from underwritten dialogue and an overabundance of sincerity, that puts it ahead of several other youth-oriented films I can think of (cough, cough). And WWE fans may want to check it out just to see how Orton acquits himself as an actor — judging by early reviews, it sounds like he actually fares pretty well.
That’s What I Am will be getting a limited release April 28, 2011.
Discuss: Do you have any interest in watching this film? What if I remind you that the other kid-friendly film opening that weekend is Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil?