Back on the chain gang

Movie: Holes

Our Rating: 3.00
Call it "praising with faint damns," but one would rather see a nation of impressionable kids lining up for this quirky literary adaptation than for most of the tripe they're fed. A hint of Wes Anderson permeates the story of the oddball Yelnats family, whose scion Stanley (Shia LeBeouf) is falsely convicted of sneaker theft and sent to a comically brutal work camp for troubled youth. What he finds there -- and what he learns about his past -- imparts a healthy suspicion of adult authority. Still, a crucial backstory that explains Stanley's "cursed" familial legacy seems whittled down to the core as the overlong picture emphasizes arid and redundant scenes of hard labor.