Parkland [2013] ★★

parkland-poster-404x600Sign me up for any film that recounts the events of November 22 1963, the day John F. Kennedy, the president of the United States, was murdered. You couldn’t ask for a more intriguing premise, or a better cast, including Paul Giamatti, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeremy Strong, Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, Jacki Weaver, and Zac Efron. Sadly, with an utterly amateurish script and some cheesy acting, writer/director Peter Landesman creates a soap opera of activity and silly cardboard 60’s characters. As a result, what we get is real tragedy attached to lousy storytelling. Landesman spends the bulk of his film setting up too many cameos from stars playing characters who were in Dallas that day. Look, there’s Efron as the doctor who tried to save the president, and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden as a nurse in the ER. Oh and here’s Billy Bob Thornton as a Secret Service agent. Over there it’s Paul Giamatti as the man who captured the bullets striking Kennedy with his 8mm camera. You see where I’m going. Landesman clearly means well. But having your heart in the right place is no excuse for corny storytelling. Ultimately, “Parkland” makes you wish you were watching a biopic of John Kennedy instead.

Rating: 2/4

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