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Annapolis (June 27/06)

One can't help but wonder what's governing James Franco's choices as of late, following the one-two punch of mediocrity in the guise of Tristan + Isolde and now this. Neither film is terrible, necessarily, but it's difficult not to expect a whole lot more from Franco - a performer who has long-since established himself as one of the most promising actors of his generation.

The story revolves around a rebellious dock worker who must prove his worth after being accepted at the titular Naval academy, where he shakes things up with his fellow cadets and enters into a rivalry with a commanding officer (Tyrese Gibson).

Screenwriter David Collard infuses Annapolis with virtually every cliche one associates with films of this nature, something that's particularly true of the stereotypes that surround Franco's character (including the requisite fat guy, the brash ladies man, etc). And while Annapolis is initially kind of entertaining - thanks primarily to some handsome production values and director Justin Lin's sporadically intriguing visual choices - it doesn't take long for the tediousness of Collard's hackneyed script to overrule any of the film's positive attributes.

Franco does what he can with the material, but is generally left floundering (that Gibson quickly reveals himself to be a far lesser talent than Franco certainly doesn't help matters). By the time Annapolis transforms into a third-rate Rocky wannabe, it's virtually impossible to care about any of this.

out of

About the DVD: Buena Vista Home Entertainment presents Annapolis with an anamorphically-enhanced transfer, and several intriguing bonus features - including an 11-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, a 10-minute look at how the film's various boxing scenes were accomplished, seven deleted scenes (available with or without commentary), and a commentary track with director Justin Lin, screenwriter David Collard, and editor Fred Raskin.
© David Nusair