Imagine my surprise to be completely captivated by this, okay, I’ll say it, heart-warming family film.

Somebody’s Hero
Backlit Pictures

I get asked to review a lot of films by both major studios and independent filmmakers. Most of the time I walk away from viewing the movie or DVD muttering something akin to, ‘Well, that just cost me two hours of my life that I’ll never get back. Whoever was responsible for greenlighting that should be fired.’ The older I get, the more valuable my time has become, so I’ve established the ’20 Minute Rule.’ If a film hasn’t caught my interest in the first 20 minutes, I walk away.

Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes for Somebody’s Hero. First, it’s marketed as a heart-warming film for the whole family, which is usually code for – this movie sucks. Secondly, it’s produced by an independent film company and released by an independent distribution company; and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing (I’ve seen lots of great independent films) it is usually code for – this movie sucks.

Imagine my surprise to be completely captivated by this, okay, I’ll say it, heart-warming family film.

Mild-mannered New York city accountant, Dennis (Covert Affairs’ blind operative, Christopher Gorham) is tasked with getting some signatures from an uber-wealth widow, Katie (Gossip Girl’s Susan Miner). Dennis is immediately drawn to this sad young woman and her cute as a button son, Jake. Jake is enthralled with a TV superhero named Man-America who always does the right thing. Man-America is a father figure of sorts to the tyke. On a whim, Dennis stops at a costume shop to try on a Man-America costume, probably as a surprise for Jake, when an attempted armed robbery occurs. Dennis, in costume, intervenes and saves the day, inadvertantly becoming a local hero. Then… well, I won’t give away the rest of the plot. Suffice it to say, I blew past the 20 Minute Rule and never gave it a second thought.

Gorham has a charming, little-boy smile that is both innocent and manly. As Dennis, he is genuine, courteous, and wholesome in a way that is seldom seen on the big screen. He believes in doing the right thing, even when nobody notices, and even if somebody else gets the credit. He does the right thing when doing the right thing isn’t exactly the safest thing to do. He does the right thing even when people say all manner of evil things against him. In short, Dennis is a good guy; the kind of guy you’d want to hang out with; the kind of guy you would want to marry your sister.

In all honesty, this is not a 100% completely ‘safe for the whole family’ kind of movie. There is some peril and fisticuffs. Some parents might be concerned, as was Katie, that children might emulate a superhero who puts himself in danger (remember the scene in Batman: The Dark Knight when all the wannabees started dressing up in costume to fight crime, and the results were, well, not so good?). There is a smattering of course language and innuendo, most of which would go over the heads of toddlers, and is certainly mild compared to what you see anytime on television, but parents still need to be aware.

There are two great lines in the film that simply took my breath away:

1) “Everyone can be somebody’s hero.”

2) “Let his father’s light shine through him.”

Yes, when you review movies for living you have to wade hip deep in garbage, but every once in a great while, you find a gem. Somebody’s Hero left me with a smile and a tear, and inspired me to be a better man, to do the right thing – even when no one is watching. You can’t ask for more than that.