I received a screener for Paramount’s latest musical dramedy MIGHT OAK, which is out today on digital platforms and stars Janel Parrish (“Pretty Little Liars,” To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before), Carlos PenaVega (“Big Time Rush,” Spare Parts, “Life Sentence”), Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids, “Nashville”), Tommy Ragen (debuting as Oak), Levi Dylan (12 Mighty Orphans), with a special appearance by veteran actress Raven-Symoné (“That’s So Raven,” Dr. Doolittle).
Here’s the synopsis: MIGHTY OAK tells the story of Gina (Janel Parrish, “Pretty Little Liars,” To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before), a band manager who struggles after losing her brother/lead singer (Levi Dylan, 12 Mighty Orphans) in a fatal car accident while traveling to a gig. A decade later, Gina meets a 10-year-old music prodigy named Oak, played by newcomer Tommy Ragen, a real-life prodigy whose music inspired the screenplay. Oak seems to possess the same qualities as Gina’s late brother, inspiring her to pull her life back together and try to reunite the band with Oak as its new front man.
It’s an intriguing story with weighty topics that include substance abuse, bullying, death and loss, and reincarnation. And I was very impressed that, even with the subject matter, the story was sensitively related and I have no problem recommending it for pre-teens (10 years and older) to view.
The film also includes some beautifully selected and vibrant shots, yet somewhat frenetic camera motion and off center angles that didn’t complement or make sense for, the story.
I also wished for additional character development and questioned a few story exposition choices, that left me not as concerned or engaged at pivotal moments.
Highlights of film for me: 1) when Oak (Ragen) is introduced to the old band members as the new frontman. The landlord/restaurant owner’s reaction is priceless! 2) Tommy Ragen’s musical genius! He is definitely one to watch.
What the what moments: almost the entire third act, which was rushed and too easily resolved.
In sum, “Mighty Oak” is an interesting concept with a few good laughs, but it feels rushed and as a drama isn’t as effective. I rate it 2 and 1/2 out of 5 beats on the MMTrometer.
You can watch the trailer below and get additional info, including where to stream, at the film’s official website here.
Until next thought, Thomasena