Co-producer, Sam Irvin.
Directed by Bob Clark. Screenplay, Mark Sanderson. Camera (CFI color), Stephan Katz; editor, Stan Cole; music, Paul J. Zaza; production designer, Deren Abram; art director, Michael Provart; costume designer, Bruce Finlayson; casting , Donald Paul Pemrick, Dean E. Fronk. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival, Jan. 17, 2000. Running time: 90 MIN.
With: Trevor Morgan, Pam Dawber, Mark Harmon, Pat Morita, Haley Joel Osment, Yuji Okumoto.
Though hardly as disastrous as Steven Spielberg’s “1941,” helmer Bob Clark’s “I’ll Remember April” is another failed attempt to dramatize the absurd but true events surrounding a Japanese incursion into California waters after Pearl Harbor. Recalling average Disney TV coming-of-age entries, 1998 pic has been collecting dust but may still land on theatrical shores on strength of Haley Joel Osment, who appeared here before his breakthrough in “The Sixth Sense.”
Nippon sailor Matsuo (Yuji Okumoto) goes overboard from Rising Sun sub near Passerville, Calif., and hides out in an abandoned factory that’s the playground of four boys, including Osment’s Pee Wee and Duke (fine turn by Trevor Morgan). Duke’s dad and mom (real-life marrieds Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber) befriend Japanese-American neighbor Abe Tanaka (Pat Morita) when his family is forced to a relocation camp, just as Duke and Matsuo gain each other’s trust. “April” revels in simple boyhood pleasures, but feels phony as it tries to mine more serious themes of torn loyalties during difficult early days of WWII. Tech credits are shoddy, with Paul Zaza’s score shamelessly stealing from Samuel Barber’s overused “Adagio for Strings.”