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August 28, 2006

HALF NELSON

Colesmithey.comA "half nelson" is an effective wrestling hold that relates to debut director Ryan Fleck’s overhyped clinker inasmuch as its Brooklyn junior high teaching protagonist Dan Dunne (stoically played by Ryan Gosling) remains emotionally knotted up.

Terminal malcontent school teacher Dunne gets caught smoking crack in a locker room by his 13-year-old student Drey (Shareeka Epps) after a basketball game. The adult and the kid develop a dysfunctional interdependent relationship that is squirm-inducing for its manifest levels of impropriety.

Colesmithey.com

"Half Nelson" hits a stream of false notes when Dunne’s students deliver oral reports on Civil Rights struggles that could only have been plagiarized. The film’s ending isn’t only meager, it’s utterly listless. If this movie were graded pass/fail, it would be stuck in remedial class for another year.  

Rated R. 107 mins. (C) (Two stars — out of five / no halves)

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