The Peanut Butter Falcon
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Zack Gottsagen, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church
From the producers of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ this endearing but flawed picture echoes the earlier film’s cast of eccentrics and precision-tooled quirk. Zak (Gottsagen) is a twenty-two-year-old with Downs Syndrome frustrated with his incarceration in a nursing home for the elderly. Zak dreams of being a wrestler like his hero, Salt Water Redneck (Church) whose promo video he compulsively watches. Assisted by an old codger fellow resident and friend (Bruce Dern) Zak escapes from the home wearing only a pair of white underpants (making him resemble a large baby) and sets off to find his hero. Meanwhile Tyler (LaBouef), a struggling fisherman turned semi-vagrant after a family tragedy, incurs the wrath of old workmates when he attempts to steal from their crab nets. He flees in a stolen boat with the fisherman in hot pursuit. During his flight he runs into Zak and the obligatory unlikely friendship develops. Accompanied, initially reluctantly by Zak’s care worker Eleanor (Johnson in a pretty thankless part), they embark on a Mark Twain-style rafting expedition down the North Carolina coast to Florida to track down Zak’s wrestling idol. A performance of considerable charm from Gottsagen, and a disarmingly soulful turn from LaBoeuf, more or less make up for the contrived twee and fanciful script.