I Am Sam

Rated 3.0 Rain Man meets Kramer vs. Kramer as consummate actor Sean Penn provides a gutsy, fastidious portrayal of Sam Dawson, a Starbucks busboy with the mental capability of a 7-year-old kid. Single-parent Sam raises his angelic, preciously precocious daughter (Dakota Fanning) until social services bureaucracy attempts to place her in a foster home. The emotional and legal struggles that ensue are contrived and push the film into message overkill as a glamorous, upscale attorney (Michelle Pfeiffer), who has child-care issues of her own, carries Sam’s torch into the courtroom. Penn elevates the film above its several sentimental and soap opera platitudes with a daunting search for heart and truth. Directed and co-written by Jessie Nelson, who previously penned Stepmom and directed Corrina, Corrina.