Paper Planes, film review: Flimsy kids' movie rekindles Ken Loach's Kes

(U) Robert Connolly, 97 mins. Starring: Sam Worthington, Ed Oxenbould, Deborah Mailman

Ed Oxenbould gives an appealing performance in the otherwise bland and flimsy 'Paper Planes'
Ed Oxenbould gives an appealing performance in the otherwise bland and flimsy 'Paper Planes'

Ed Oxenbould, the talented Aussie child actor also recently seen in The Visit, gives another appealing performance in this otherwise bland and flimsy kids' movie.

Dylan (Oxenbould) is living in a small New South Wales town with his bereaved father (Sam Worthington), who can still barely function following the death of his wife.

One day at school, the kids are invited to make and hurl paper planes. Dylan's one soars. He is eventually given the chance to compete in the world paper-plane championships in Japan, providing he can afford to get there. Pepped up by his eccentric grandad (Terry Norris in scene-stealing mode), Dylan refuses to give up the fight. He makes friends with a Japanese girl and even manages to outmanoeuvre his main rival, whose dad is a former golfing champ played in engagingly laidback fashion by David Wenham.

In its tougher, more realistic moments, the film rekindles memories of Ken Loach's Kes. Generally, though, it opts for gentle whimsy. Thankfully, Oxenbould has enough mischief and charm to stop the film sinking into complete mawkishness.

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