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by maryann johanson, liberal movie person

Bigger Than the Sky (review)

Painfully aware of how plain vanilla his life is and tired of feeling invisible, Peter Rooker (Marcus Thomas: Noel) tries out for a part in a local production of Cyrano de Bergerac… and gets the lead role, despite having no acting experience whatsoever and giving a dreadful audition. Yup, this is another one of those flicks about how wacky life in the theater is, and how wacky theater people are, but it’s a thoroughly charming example of the breed. John Corbett (Raise Your Voice) finds a groove he’s lost since Northern Exposure as Michael Degan, the bewitching cad who’s the star of the Portland (Oregon) Community Theater; he’s determined to break Peter out of his shell, though naturally this leads to complications of the romantic-triangle sort with PCT’s leading lady — and Michael’s on-again, off-again girlfriend — Grace Hargrove (Amy Smart: Starsky & Hutch). An ongoing rivalry with another theater company — and in particular with its pompous leading man (The Lord of the Rings‘ Sean Astin, in a hilarious turn) — add unexpected, and delightful, shenanigans to what is a sweetly funny, and just a little bit heartbreaking, dramedy about finding yourself. A plot thread involving Peter’s sister disappears for much of the film, and I would have liked to see more of Peter’s (predictably) triumphant stage debut, but these are minor complaints. It’s enough that the film captures the magic and mystery of how a play is always a disaster in rehearsals… and then the curtain goes up and it all works perfectly. It makes me want to take up the theater life again.


MPAA: rated PG-13 for some language and sexual references

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

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