So my wife wanted me to rent some movies at Family Video recently. I was looking around for a specific film she requested, when I discovered they had a few Christian based titles available for rent. Every single one except You’ve Got a Friend were taken, and I was thinking to myself “Hey I remember seeing an ad for this online, maybe I should watch it before actually purchasing it.” So I decided to rent this, because it’s a newer film and interestingly enough it has to do with Soap Box Derby Racing. Wait… Soap Box Derby Racing? That seems familiar… Didn’t I recently review a movie which involved Soap Box Derby Racing?
You’ve Got a Friend concerns a boy named Bobby Graham whose parents recently died; he is now staying with his Aunt and Uncle. Bobby isn’t fitting in well with his new family or his school itself at first, and is uncertain of how to move on… At least until he starts hearing rumors of a supposed, crazy Vietnam Veteran. The rumors alone spark an interest in Bobby meeting this stranger, but what intrigues him even more is when he also learns this same person was once a Soap Box Derby Racing Champion. Bobby wanted to build his own car and race with his Dad, but with his Dad no longer present he is unsure what to do other than seek this stranger’s help. What does Bobby need to know in order to become a successful racer? Will he even be allowed to race despite Bobby’s Uncle forbidding him from pursuing this “useless” hobby…? I like much of the acting from actors like John Schneider as well the girl who played Sharona from the TV Show Monk, and I also thought the theological messages were nice too. However, this movie’s script reminds me ALOT like 25 Hill…
Here are the following similarities I noticed between 25 Hill and You’ve Got a Friend: 1) Both main characters are grade school boys who have blonde hair. 2) Both boys have recently deceased fathers who were going to help them build/race a Soap Box Derby Car. 3) Both boys seek out mentors who were previous Derby Champions. 4) Both mentors are disgruntled about something; Corbin Bernsen’s more convincing though. 5) Both mentors are reluctant to take them on as pupils at first, but are convinced after they see the boys are very serious about the sport. 6) Both boys have seemingly unbeatable rivals; Trey’s is more legitimate though. 7) Both make it to the finals. 8) Both Boys count on their mothers for support when not involved with their mentors; Bobby’s Aunt who is his new mother is slightly more helpful than Trey’s. There is at least one more I could name, but I’d risk releasing a spoiler element and besides you get the picture… These obvious similarities are worth docking points for alone… Besides those points, I felt Bobby’s rival’s Dad was exaggeratively evil, the story ended too well, 25 Hill touches on deeper theological messages, and the title name itself just doesn’t seem to fit to me. If you’re unable to watch 25 Hill feel free to check this out because it is a decent film don’t get me wrong, but I won’t be buying it. I would recommend if you had a choice between buying 25 Hill or You’ve Got a Friend that you buy 25 Hill instead because it is the better movie between the two.
Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.