In this family friendly film ‘Somebody’s Hero’ we are introduced to accountant Dennis Sullivan (Christopher Gorham). Dennis works for a Horrible Boss in Miss Malechek (Pamela Shaw) who has suddenly taken a liking to Dennis. The reason she likes Dennis is because, as she says, he’s invisible. He’s quiet, bland, and you barely know that he’s there. Why these are good traits in an accountant, I’m not sure, but that’s what she said. There is a client that Miss Malechek needs nailed down and she has determined that Dennis’ set of innocuous skills are perfect for this gig. Again, I don’t know why, but then I’m not the CEO of a large accounting firm.
This client is recent widow Katie Wells (Susan Misner). We’re not going to get into why this young woman’s husband is dead and all, but apparently he was filthy rich and Ms. Malechek needs the family’s dollars to stay right where they are. Katie is in possession of a couple of good movie standby characters in a really cute little boy named Jake (Ben Hyland) and a wise all knowing African American housekeeper in Maureen (Novella Nelson).
With that all setup, Dennis meets Katie, who happens to be beautiful, he meets Jake who is impossibly cute and naturally they hit it off. Then Dennis is introduced to Jake’s obsession, the invincible superhero Man America! Jake has a few coping issues with the way his father checked out so an invincible super hero is helping him get along, despite his mom’s concerns, but it is cheaper than therapy.
Then one day after an evening of number crunching with Katie and the boy and the maid, Dennis decides to stop into costume shop to try on a Man America costume for no other reason than I guess it was something to do. Just roll with it. While trying on this costume there’s a ruckus in the mall lobby as some thug was attempting to rob the joint. Dressed as Man America, Dennis thwarts this thug, quite comically if we must say, with all of this caught on surveillance video. The owner this fine establishment, one Donald
Delansky (Arthur J. Nascarella), seeing an opportunity to exploit this for his own gain, somehow convinces Dennis that the city of New York needs Man America, and Dennis, to give them hope. That’s we he told my man, and Dennis goes with it, dressing up as a superhero, walking around the streets of New York, fighting crime. The only problem with this is that crime in New York City tends to fight back.
Predictably, Dennis gets closer to Katie who thinks this mysterious Man America character is a danger to society, the little boy gets cuter by the minute, the African American maid says stuff that’s wiser and wiser, the Horrible Boss gets more horribler and the exploitative costume shop owner turns out be a bigger jerk than we thought he was. And we thought he was pretty slimy to begin with. You know the routine. Dennis gets shamed, he loses the love, he must be redeemed, and somehow he will regain the love. And don’t be surprised if the wise African American maid has something wise to say to make facilitate this process.
Written and directed by Darin Beckstead, ‘Somebody’s Hero’… is what it is. As hard as we might try, we can’t skirt around the fact that ‘Somebody’s Hero’ is predictable, the characters are mostly factory stock and as a movie it’s not one brimming with an awful lot uniqueness or originality. It is safe, controlled, competent and comfortable entertainment that doesn’t color outside the lines and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We don’t always need to the reinvent the wheel when it comes to these movies and as long as the story is told well, the movie has a pace that is tolerable and the performances are solid, then we have something we can work with, and ‘Somebody’s Hero’ qualifies on all three of these points. The main thing ‘Somebody’s Hero’ has working for it is a group of quality actors putting in quality work. Actor Christopher Gorham has an undeniable charm floating about him and he effortlessly and charmingly carries this movie from predictable plot point to predictable plot point, Novella Nelson is a true veteran of these wars and always brings a high level of ability to almost every role she accepts. In retrospect, fully realizing that the Wise African American character is a staple in these heartfelt movies, I probably would’ve opted to cast Ms. Nelson as the Horrible Boss because the woman is really good at being very bad. Rounding things out, young Ben Hyland was terribly cute, Susan Misner is certainly beautiful and Arthur J. Nascarella has Mob Boss written all over him. Dennis should’ve known better.
True enough, ‘Somebody’s Hero’ has its issues as a work of groundbreaking cinema in that it is somewhat predictable and it probably moves a little slowly for its own good at times, but it is earnest in its presentation and it is a solid, family themed movie.