Wishin’ and Hopin’ (2014)

Wishin and Hopin

Who doesn’t love witty Coming-of-Age stories? Especially the uplifting kind that one watches with a smile on the face from start to finish. It’s no secret – I love them!

Based on a best-selling novel by Wally Lamb, Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a delightful comedy flick with with a cast led by its adorable young protagonist: 10-year-old Felix Funicello (Wyatt Ralff). A fifth grader at the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School, Felix is doing his best to navigate the perils of a Catholic education and an adolescent social life involving girls (“in fifth grade, if a girl really liked a guy she will make his life a living hell”), kisses (even the kind that “make Jesus very, very, very sad”), friends and public appearances and beautiful role models to look up to.

Felix Funicello (Wyatt Ralff) in detention.
Felix Funicello (Wyatt Ralff) in detention.

Whether you attended a Catholic school or not (“It’s always the same — Jesus Good, Satan Bad”), the hilarious and provoking story of young Felix would pull your heart strings and take you on a wonderful trip back to your childhood (unless you are still a child, in which case associating with the hero of the story would be even easier).

The flavor of a novelistic, first-person point of view is provided by a voice-over narration that offers wit, ironies and insights of the inner world of the young Felix. The narrator (Chevy Chase) is actually the older Felix, who does a great job juxtaposing the life knowledge of adulthood with the innocent universe inhabited by his younger self. Adapting a novel to the screen could be a challenging task, yet screenwriter John Doolan and director Colin Theys did a marvelous job of bringing the story to life.

Scene from Lifetime`s Wishin' and Hopin'
Scene from Lifetime`s Wishin’ and Hopin’

The film has hardly any flaws – from the great production design that combines retro costumes and settings, with top-notch cultural references (the action is set in the 60s), through the charismatic bundle of actors (young and old) portraying even some of the stereotypical characters in a unique, delightful and authentic way.

Wishin’ and Hopin’ s story is filled with sudden reversals or backfiring of events and original jokes (topping even those from Diary of a Wimpy Kid) that are  guaranteed to keep you entertained for the duration of the film. (I can`t wipe the smile off my face even as I write this review). It is advertised as a Christmas film, but it can really be enjoyed at any time of the year. Such uplifting stories are always welcome to brighten up our everyday lives.


TV Spot

Wishin' and Hopin' - :60 TV Spot (Lifetime)

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