In "Sidekicks," a teen-age asthmatic who fantasizes he's Chuck Norris' sidekick learns karate and confronts the real bullies in his life at a demonstration match. (Rated PG)
Surprise! Kids who expected a hard-core adventure film found themselves laughing throughout this movie, which spoofs Chuck Norris shoot-'em-ups. Although the predictable plot bored some, it left them thinking about how to reach their own dreams.
"It's really funny," said Jeremy, 8, who came to the show with his friend Marco, 11. "My friend here was going, 'Oh, this is really stupid. Why's he dreaming about all this?' And I'm like, 'It'll get good.' "
After giving his friend a good-natured karate kick in the thigh, Marco protested: "I never said it was stupid. I meant it was funny. I thought it was going to be blood and stuff, but it's, like, action and comedy."
Jeremy said the movie also shows that "if you stick with something, you get a better . . . com . . . compliment . . . complish. . . ."
"Accomplish. Accomplishment," Marco helped out with what seemed to be a new and favorite vocabulary word. "It proved that if you want something accomplished, you should work real hard on it. They said only use karate for your self-defense and if you show it off you're not getting anything accomplished."
Marco continued: "I want to accomplish drawing so someday I can be like a famous artist like Leonardo da Vinci. He was very famous, and he got things accomplished. If you draw just once a week, you'll get good, but you won't get anything accomplished. If you work at it harder, you'll get more accomplished."
Friends Cass, 10, and Ryan, 12, called the film "pretty good." They had seen Chuck Norris war movies and liked the daydreams that involved in-jokes. Ryan said, "I liked the part when Chuck Norris and the boy came up out of the water and were shooting." Thirteen-year-old Ricky thought the movie was "pretty funny" but overly predictable. "It wasn't a good plot," he said. "I could tell what was going to happen. But I liked the action, the fighting parts, and I liked that kid, Barry."
Thirteen-year-old Megan also liked Barry, but for a different reason: "I think he's really cute," she said smiling through her braces. "He reminds me of someone."
Megan has never taken karate lessons. "It seems like it would hurt too much. But I like watching it. I liked that a lot."
She saw the film's message in a slightly different way. "I liked the end when they said dreams always can come true if you believe hard enough."
But hey. That's an accomplishment too.
Lynn Smith is a staff writer for The Times' View section.