In the Canadian dramedy Saint Ralph, a boy runs from what the world wants to do to him. At first, Ralph—a lanky lad of 14—rebels with venial sins like smoking and "self-abuse," but when he hears a track-coaching priest sarcastically talk of miracles, he builds a theological house of cards for himself by confusing God with Santa Claus. If only Ralph can make a miracle, by winning the 1954 Boston Marathon, his mother will awaken from her coma. The leap of faith is yawning, but allows for light lessons about pain, endurance, and commitment as Ralph and his reluctant coach of the cloth bond.
As the iconoclastic, Nietzsche-quoting priest ("The anarchist and the Christian have a common origin"), Campbell Scott is about the only thing giving Saint Ralph any weight. Adam Butcher, as Ralph, is precocious but not yet refined, and Jennifer Tilly, as a nurse, doesn't even come close to selling the late line "You made us all feel we were part of something big." Since writer-director Michael McGowan spit-polishes the whole thing with Catholic humor and wistfulness, his film is likeable to a point, but in the end, Saint Ralph winds up incredible, manipulative, and strictly for the choir.
"Behind the Scenes of Saint Ralph" (8:55) is a skimpy promo-style featurette with clips and interview snippets, and the disc also unfurls previews of The Gospel, USS Poseidon: Phantom Below, Sueño, Ringers: Lord of the Fans, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Madison, and Turtles Can Fly.
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