Director Marc Webb dodges most of the pitfalls surrounding movies about adorable kids, largely by finding the right kid for the job. Mckenna Grace plays Mary, a 7-year-old math prodigy who winds up in a custody battle between her uncle, Frank (Chris Evans), and Frank’s mother (Lindsay Duncan), the grandmother Mary has never met. Duncan’s role is an unfortunate sticking point, a manipulative doyenne who feels like a daytime soap-opera villain. Evans provides a more soulful, earthbound balance, but the real star here is Grace, who brings a radiant no-front-teeth smile and sharp comic timing to a role that could come off as obnoxiously un-kid-like. As family drama, the story delivers a satisfying emotional payoff, thanks to convincing interplay between Evans and Grace, and the kind of child performance that makes you want nothing but the best for her, too.
Director: Marc Webb
Producer: Karen Lunder, Andy Cohen, Glen Basner, Ben Browning and Molly Allen
Cast: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Michael Kaplan, John Jackson, Glenn Plummer, John Finn, Elizabeth Marvel, Candace Harris, Jon Sklaroff, Jona Xiao, Julie Ann Emery and Keir O'Donnell