It's the chemistry between Vardalos and Collette that gives the film its magical dazzle. Despite Vardalos' ingratiating, big and breathy presence, Collette, as the pulse and conscience of these two dreamers, very nearly steals the film.
The Village goes up in smoke (and mirrors). It wants to find a profoundness that hints at something deep and dimensional, but it hasn't the courage of conviction to stay on course as an unabashed ode to innocence.
Racing Stripes is oddly torn in tone: is it an old-fashioned family drama, a coming-of-age story or a crass comedy? Live action or animation? Unlike "Babe," it fails to integrate its conflicting personalities.
Lawrence uses the stand-up forum less as a weapon to blast us with his incisive, razor sharp insights into life, sex and ethnicity than as a pulpit or confessional to chronicle his rehabilitation and reformation.
In the end, it trivializes the psychological complexity of the girl's post-traumatic stress and betrays a game group of actors who struggle to find balance between the alternately dark drama and the silly, over-the-top melodrama.