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‘Wild America’ Fails To Make True Story Real

By Chris Hewitt Saint Paul Pioneer Press

With the help of two girls sitting behind me at a screening of “Wild America,” I can tell you that the stars of the movie are Jonathan Taylor Thomas (“cute”), Devon Sawa (“way cute”) and Scott Bairstow (“a fox”).

All three actors have the kind of delicate looks that make Tiger Beat readers go humminna-humminna, and their cute foxiness will have to be enough to drum up interest in the movie. The actors play teenage brothers who take a movie camera on a trip to document wildlife and listen to Steppenwolf 8-tracks (the movie is set in 1967).

On the plus side, the chemistry between the brothers is believable.

But a lot of the “wildlife” the boys encounter is actually animatronic robots. There’s a moose and a caveful of bears that are quite obviously about as wild as a laptop computer scrolling through a spreadsheet.

Those fake-o bears are sure to embarrass the Stouffers, the reallife brothers whose adventures inspired the movie. I’ll bet their folks, who are depicted in blackand-white terms (mom was a saint, dad thwarted their ambitions), aren’t too thrilled, either. In fact, the relationships between the characters are so simplistic and their “Arkansas” accents are so richly varied that, even though “Wild America” is supposed to be a true story, you won’t believe a minute of it.

xxxx “Wild America” Location: North Division, East Sprague, Coeur d’Alene Credits: Directed by William Dear; starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Devon Sawa, Scott Bairstow. Running time: 1:47 Rating: PG-13

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