A skateboarder's determination to display thrashin' skillz is interwoven into a fable of forgiveness in "Hardflip."
A young skateboarder’s determination to display mad thrashin’ skillz is none-too-subtly interwoven into a Christian fable of forgiveness in “Hardflip,” a heartfelt but hokey drama that will attract few converts outside the niche aud for faith-based fare. Lead player Randy Wayne offers an abrasive, one-note performance as Caleb, an obnoxiously sullen teen who doesn’t appreciate his hard-working single mom (Rosanna Arquette) until she slips into a cancer-caused coma and he’s forced to seek out the successful workaholic dad (John Schneider) he’s never known. Pic may attract an appreciative flock in homevid pastures.
Pitching most of his scenes at the level of angry confrontation or bitter recrimination, helmer/co-writer Johnny Remo fails to convey a sense of exhilaration during sporadic skateboarding sequences. (Actors wear strategically placed caps to enable easy replacement by skate doubles.) Despite pro thesping by Schneider and Arquette, intense familial clashes proceed at a plodding pace. Lensing is drab throughout, and efforts to sell underlying messages of faith and reconciliation are clumsily heavy-handed. When Caleb climactically triumphs on a skateboard emblazed with a portrait of Jesus Christ, auds may instinctively duck to avoid jumping sharks.