A great many problems with Bridge to Terabithia could have been solved by casting, and unfortunately director Gabor Csupo gets that wrong from the start. The protagonist, Jesse Aarons, a lonely fifth grader in a small town, is played with sullen inattention by Josh Hutcherson. His better half is Leslie Burke, the new girl in town, performed by AnnaSophia Robb with a bright and shallow perkiness that suggests a callow Keira Knightley 10 years ago. With not much going in the way of interpersonal chemistry between the two leads, it's difficult for the film's rather (on the surface) uneventful and deeply interior story to gain much traction.
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Set in the 1970's, Francis (Emile Hirsch) and Tim (Kieran Culkin) are two irreverent, trouble-making friends who attend the same Catholic high school. Their archenemy is Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster), an immensely strict nun, who rules the school with an iron fist. Seeking a more even playing field, Tim and the artistically gifted Francis, with the help of a few friends, create a comic book where their superhero alter egos do battle with the evil forces of Sister Assumpta.
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