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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

The Peanut Butter Falcon (M) - 97 minutes

An unlikely, feel-good road trip, The Peanut Butter Falcon concerns a couple of outcasts – a mismatched pair – who take to each other like ducks to water.

In a classic modern adventure tale, a down-on-his-luck fisherman and a young man bent on achieving an impossible dream make their way down the waterways of a mythical American South.

At loose ends since the death his brother, Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) has resorted to stealing the catch of other crab fishers to survive.

At the same time, Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, imagines having the life of a professional wrestler.

He is “incarcerated” in an old people’s home – due to a lack of alternatives – attended by conscientious and caring aide Eleanor (Dakota Johnson).

He is forever plotting to escape the place he has called home for the past two and a half years.

And make a break for it, Zak eventually does … in only his Y-fronts.

As luck would have it, he hooks up with Tyler, who is being pursued by a pair of angry fishermen (John Hawkes and Yelawolf), whom he wronged.

So, both Zak and Tyler are on the lam, being tailed by different forces as they make their way from North Carolina towards Florida.

For Zak that is nirvana because it is where he expects to find the professional wrestling school of his hero, known as the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church).

Along the way, the pair meets a number of other colourful characters.

Sure, The Peanut Butter Falcon is far-fetched, but it is hard not to appreciate the movie’s intent.

It is an uplifting folk story that celebrates the friendship of unexpected kindred spirits.

Hanging it all together is the central character in Zak.

There is something mighty endearing about his soul. As played by Gottsagen, in his first feature film role, he seems willing to give just about anything a go and that makes him inspirational.

We haven’t seen a lot of LaBeouf in recent years, but The Peanut Butter Falcon shows what he is capable of if given a script that he can work with. He impresses.

Johnson is simply effortlessly delightful as a hardworking and decidedly pretty young woman who wants only what is best for Zak, recognising he is stuck in a mouse wheel.

The plot becomes more and more fanciful the longer the film progresses, but its heart is always in the right place thanks to the efforts of writers and directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, making their feature debuts.

There will be plenty who enjoy what this little picture has to offer, even if the real world is a whole lot more harsh that the magic than the screenplay spins.

Rated PG, The Peanut Butter Falcon scores a 6 to 6½ out of 10.


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