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Heavy-handed Soul Surfer 

surfing movie's missionary undercurrent spoils the fun

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Footage that runs during the credits show the real-life Bethany Hamilton as a devout Christian, so it’s probably not fair to hold this movie’s bible-camp undercurrent against it. But I’ll do it anyway. As Hamilton, a competitive surfer who loses her arm to a shark but gets back up on the waves thanks to her faith in the big gnar-shredder in the sky, AnnaSophia Robb is fine, as are Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her supportive parents. Unfortunately, country star Carrie Underwood nearly drowns the film in her small role as a missionary who’s supposed to be sweet and wise but comes off as a sanctimonious, judgmental bitch. In fairness, Soul Surfer is entertaining whenever it ditches the god talk and morphs into a well-photographed, girl-power surf video.
Soul Surfer
Rated PG · 105 min. · 2011
Official Site: www.soulsurferthemovie.com
Director: Sean McNamara
Writer: Michael Berk and Bethany Hamilton
Cast: Dennis Quaid, AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood, Craig T. Nelson, Kevin Sorbo, Jeremy Sumpter, Lorraine Nicholson, David Chokachi and Ross Thomas

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