A remake of "My Friend Flicka", "Flicka" stars Allison Lohman as Katy McLaughlin, a high school student (the 27-year-old Lohman has to be getting tired of playing characters around 10 years younger than her at this point), a young woman who's not doing well in school and would rather spend her time riding horses on her family's ranch in Wyoming.
While out in the woods one afternoon, Katy comes upon a wild stallion who she dubs Flicka, which saves her from a wandering mountain lion. While her father is currently in the midst of selling off his ranch, but Katy wants to be next in line to run the place, something her father is against and her mother is for. Meanwhile, despite her falling grades, Katy goes against her father's orders and brings in Flicka. Her father (Tim McGraw) doesn't believe that Flicka is safe to be around and sells the horse off, but Katy steals it back.
There's nothing particularly original or unpredictable about "Flicka". The horse gets injured, father and daughter finally make up and many teary one-liners are exchanged. I suppose the only thing I didn't see coming is the fact that Katy somehow gets deliriously ill (at which time, of course, a character proclaims that Katy is "a fighter" because that's the kind of movie this is) for no apparent reason towards the end of the film, aside from being out in the rain. "Flicka" is remarkably sappy, exceptionally melodramatic (Lohman's sappy and unnecessary narration is an example) and overly sentimental, but at least it appears to know what it is.
That's not to say that "Flicka" isn't without positives. The film offers some utterly gorgeous cinematography, although this isn't filmed in Wyoming, but a combination of California and New Zealand. Despite a script with some moments that have enough sap to cover IHOP for years, Lohman's performance still remains engaging. While this is certainly not her best performance, Bello is likable here, as well. Ryan Kwanten, who plays the brother of the Lohman character, is particularly good, and the two seem believable as siblings.
Overall, "Flicka" is an inoffensive family film that gets by on fine performances and a comfortably old-fashioned feel. However, it certainly had the potential to be better had it dialed down the sap.
VIDEO: "Flicka" is presented by Fox in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a 1.33:1 pan & scan presentation on the other side of the DVD. The presentation quality is quite good, as the image remained sharp and well-defined throughout the show, doing justice to the film's beautiful scenery. Aside from a couple of slight instances of edge enhancement and artifacting, the film remained smooth, clean and clear. The film's warm, bright color palette looked well-saturated and lovely here, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is fairly straightforward, mainly focusing on dialogue and the score. Surrounds kick in for some mild ambience and reinforcement of the score. Audio quality remains above average, with crisp sound effects and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Audio commentary from director Michael Mayer, bloopers, gag reel, Tim McGraw music video and deleted scenes with optional commentary.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Flicka" is an inoffensive family film that gets by on fine performances and a comfortably old-fashioned feel. However, it certainly had the potential to be better had it dialed down the sap. The DVD edition provides good audio/video quality and a nice supply of extras. A rental for families.
The Film B-