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Review (6/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In Annapolis, James Franco stars as Jake Huard, a dude working on the docks in Chesapeake Bay who longs to join the U.S. Naval Academy. His dream finally comes true when he is recruited by Donnie Wahlberg. But, things at the Academy turn out to be much tougher than Jake could have ever imagined. His drill sergeant, Lt. Cole (Tyrese Gibson) rides his ass to the ground, making him to push-ups in the rain; randomly asking him trivia questions that, if he doesn't answer, he and all the people in his platoon get punished; making the fat guy run the obstacle course; and just all sorts of other stuff that piss Jake off. But Jake will have his day in court with Cole. The Academy holds a boxing championship every year called the "Brigades" and Jake and Cole are on a collision course to clash in the final match.

Annapolis is a strange movie. I have to admit, I went in with the lowest of expectations. I basically went just to kill an afternoon and this was pretty much the only movie that I could see with the two other people I was with that, for different reasons, would satisfy the three of us. Basically, it came down to a choice between Annapolis and Big Momma's House 2. Yep, it's a slow month in the Hollywood, that's for sure.

Nevertheless, if you don't think about Annapolis too much, you will probably be relatively entertained. This movie is about as shallow and cliched as any movie that you may see in your entire life. The angry drill sergeant, the distant father, the fat kid (they call him Twins), the love interest, the tight ass trainee, the final boxing match, the "will the father show up" moment, the glance between father and son at the end of the fight. This movie has almost every cliche in the history of movies so if cliches bother you stay away.

Hell, I'm not even too sure why the movie is called Annapolis. Annapolis has as much to do with this movie as Einstein had to do with Dumb and Dumber. Even to call this a Navy movie might be a stretch. About half the movie focuses on a boxing match instead of anything that has to do with the Academy. In fact, I read somewhere that the Navy has distanced itself from Annapolis because its depiction of life in a Navy Academy is so far-fetched. I really don't blame them. To me Annapolis is more a movie about a kid with a chip on his shoulder who we're supposed to like, going to the Academy and getting in a boxing match with his Lieutenant, who we're supposed to dislike. Even there, Annapolis fails. I thought Jake was an okay character, maybe a bit of a goofball, but certainly not a character that I really liked or really disliked. Lieutenant Cole, on the other hand, was someone we were supposed to dislike but I really didn't mind the guy. Yeah, he was a hardass but he was just playing by the rules and he certainly wasn't unreasonalble. On the other hand, his second-in-command was the real asshole and he just sort of disappeared towards the end of the movie. I would have rather seen Jake go a round or two with him instead of Cole.

In the end, Annapolis is a movie that is sure to bother a large amount of the small audience that will see it. I see it being one of those movies that is played over and over on TV in a couple of years, so if you don't want to waste your money on this formulatic film, wait for its television debut, which is sure to be in the near future. It's almost worth watching for a little tale about Arkansas and Mississippi that Twins tells Jake - very humourous. Again, I admit, I was fairly entertained by Annapolis. It did have a few highlights, a few moments that pull at the old heartstrings and a fine looking lady in Jordana Brewster. But again, I went in with no expectations at all and didn't get too caught up in all the cliches, the very shallow story and the fact that Franco kept getting his ass kicked in the ring and barely had a scratch on his face. If you consider yourself somewhat of a movie conniseur, you might want to run for the hills instead of checking out this movie because Annapolis is sure to give you one hell of a headache.

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