“Same Kind of Different as Me” (Paramount)
By Catholic News Service
Uneven recounting of the real-life events through which a wealthy art dealer (Greg Kinnear) formed a seemingly unlikely friendship with a volatile but fundamentally decent homeless man (Djimon Hounsou). Anxious to repair the damage a recent affair has done to his marriage, the salesman reluctantly agrees to accompany his spiritually attuned wife (Renee Zellweger) on her visits to a local soup kitchen. There he gradually overcomes the initial hostility of his future pal and learns the moving details of the latter’s personal history.
So long as Hounsou dominates the scene, as he does while lyrically recalling his character’s childhood, his redoubtable talent carries the film along. Though the other headliners of the cast — including Jon Voight as the protagonist’s booze-sodden estranged father — bring their own formidable resumes to the project, they are less successful in overcoming the limitations of the script, adapted from the book penned by the actual amigos, Ron Hall and Denver Moore, by director Michael Carney, Alexander Foard and Hall. A nondenominational religious subtext and Gospel-congruent values help to hide the aesthetic blemishes and make this probably acceptable for older teens.
Some nonlethal violence, a scene of marital intimacy, mature themes, including adultery and racial hatred, sexual references, innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.