Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense
) plays a young boy out to make the world a better place with a deceptively simple social experiment he calls pay it forward
, the theory being that one does a life-altering favor for three folks, who in turn do the same for three others each, who… you get the idea. One of those Hollywood message
movies that is actually quite charming… that is, until the very end when the filmmakers abruptly grind the gears and shift to an allegorical ending so ham-fistedly manipulative—not to mention contrary to the seeming intent of the film—that one is shocked out of the narrative flow of the movie and left acutely aware that the images on the screen are nothing more than actors pretending to be overwhelmed, and with a nasty feeling that the audience has been the collective victim of some perverse practical joke. Pay it forward… tell three friends not
to see this movie.