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05 Feb 2015

A Big Pile of Nothing: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer Play Stereotypes in the Offensive 'Black or White'

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Jillian Estell and Kevin Costner in Black and White. Jillian Estell and Kevin Costner in Black and White.

Kevin Costner plays a widower fighting for the custody of his black granddaughter (Jillian Estell) in Black or White, a dopey, misguided and frequently offensive movie.

Costner, playing a man named Elliot Anderson, acts drunk during most of the movie, and the results are unintentionally funny. He joins the rest of the cast in playing stereotypes, and it all adds up to a big pile of nothing.

The film sometimes flirts with meaningfulness, but it degenerates into a typical courtroom drama during which a bunch of jerks fight for the right to raise a precocious child. The whole thing feels dishonest, and strains for laughter in extremely inappropriate ways. Costner stumbles around; Octavia Spencer shakes her head a lot; and we face-palm ourselves for two hours. By the time the ghost of Elliot’s dead wife goes for a late-night swim, the film has become a complete disaster.

It’s surprising that this made it past direct-to-video and actually hit movie screens. The film is as simpleminded as its title.

Black or White is playing at theaters across the valley.

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