The film is based on the Newbery Award-winning book about 10-year-old Flora, an avid comic book fan and a self-avowed cynic, whose parents have recently separated. After rescuing a squirrel she names Ulysses, Flora is amazed to discover he possesses unique superhero powers, which take them on an adventure of humorous complications that ultimately change Flora’s life–and her outlook–forever.
We met Flora, a young girl who loves her some comic-books, and her love comes from her Dad, George (Ben Schwartz), an artist who has become down on his luck and has since split with his wife. Next, we see Flora save a squirrel. As we begin to find out, the squirrel has super-powers, and much to Flora’s happiness, she has wanted something like this to happen in her life.
First, Ben Schwartz being a father is weird, and I know the guy is 39 in real life, but Jean-Ralphio, a father, is something I never expected to try to put together in a movie. He isn’t bad in the role, but I think he was incredibly miscast in this role.
Matilda Lawler was a delight as Flora. She was perfect for that innocent/troublemaking kid. Even when I felt like the film was on a flat road, she delights with her personality.
Honestly, the story isn’t terrible. I think it suffers from a lack of execution, and the script was a bit of a mess. Although the story can be charming at times, the build is too cheesy to invest into. It doesn’t do enough to warrant your full attention throughout the film. It struggles even to make itself watchable.
Last, I do think kids will eat this up, and that’s fine, but Disney typically does a great job of giving parents something to nibble on during, and they didn’t do enough here to make it watchable for all.