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With: Edward James Olmos, George Lopez, Kathleen Quinlan, Jessica Medoff, Christopher McDonald, Billy Boyd, Johnathan McClain, Tami Lee Santimyer
Written by: Mark Medoff
Directed by: Ross Kagan Marks
MPAA Rating: PG for some mature thematic elements and brief language
Running Time: 106
Date: 05/07/2021

Walking with Herb (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Golf Hearts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This head-scratcher of a faith-based comedy-drama is filled with kind, appealing characters, and it's hard not to love them, but it's also extremely odd, with awkward rhythms and puzzling choices.

Sixty-five year-old bank manager Joe Amable-Amo (Edward James Olmos) loses his faith in God after the deaths of his son-in-law and granddaughter in quick succession. One day, he receives a message from God on his computer screen, asking him to spread a message of hope by winning the World Entire golf competition. If he wins, he can use the prize money to help save his daughter's struggling school for homeless children.

Joe receives instructions to begin training with Herb (George Lopez), a flamboyantly-dressed fellow, and God's personal messenger. When the competition arrives, Joe does miraculously well, but he must still face up-and-coming star Archie Borthwick (Billy Boyd).

The final screenplay by the late, Oscar-nominated and Tony-winning Mark Medoff (Children of a Lesser God), Walking with Herb begins poorly, opening on a loving scene of the family, and then drastically cutting to two funerals, the latter shockingly focused on a baby-sized casket. Before long, we're treated to strange, supposedly funny messages from God — who is never heard from again — and then a magical dachshund and pigeon, who "wink" with the help of CGI.

As the movie goes on, it's easy to begin rooting for the characters, especially Amable-Amo, whose name, we're told in an extremely awkward line of dialogue, means "Kind-Love," and Herb, who manages to balance his spirituality with warm humor. Oscar-nominee Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13) as Joe's wife, Medoff's real-life daughter Jessica as Joe's daughter, and Christopher McDonald as Archie's caddy, are other positive forces.

Even as Walking with Herb earns our sympathy, however, it also keeps on going with its clumsy choices, including sports montages and two "comical" TV commentators during the golf tournament. It leaves off with a distinctly mixed feeling, part joy and part annoyance.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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