With all of the mean-spirited characters and themes as well as the countless seemingly random and irrelevant subplots told in disjointed flashbacks, you wish director Andrew Davis would get trapped in one of his 5-feet-by-5-feet dirt holes. The moving conclusion that ties everything together in one big forgiving bow will cause you to grab your shovel and unearth your victim. Based on the popular children’s novel by Louis Sachar, the film follows Stanley Yelnats IV to a detention facility for stealing sneakers where he is sent to dig a hole a day in the middle of the sun-soaked Texan desert for 18 months in order to "build character." There, we meet a caricature of an overseer with a pompadour and Elvis sideburns (Jon Voight), a ruthless warden (Sigourney Weaver) and dozens of hard-nosed punks while we jostle back in time to encounter an old senile soothsayer (Eartha Kitt), a humbled schoolteacher turned Jesse James (Patricia Arquette) and a spokesman for onions (Dulé Hill). Because there are so many original characters, unexpected turns and potential plot holes, you’ll want to stick around to see how each hole is filled.


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