As much as it grates, it still manages to warm the cockles.
| Original Score: 3/5
Plenty of ambition. But the dialogue can be tin-eared, and the comedy has a cater- to-kids quality that sells youngsters short.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Instead of steering toward deep and troubled waters, "Dolphin Tale" jumps through hoops to engage a young audience.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
That it manages to be not insufferable while still being so predictable is a small tribute to its cast and crew.
A potentially appealing story about a rescued disabled dolphin gets smothered with inspirational family values guff.
| Original Score: 2/4
Most of the family films churned out today are so junky it's almost a shock to find one in which the animals never spout sassy one-liners, or show off their hilarious hip-hop moves.
Effective as the movie is, it nevertheless left me slightly put off.
A heartwarmingly hokey and accessible production.
Dolphin Tale is a reasonably well-made and likable story about the courageous efforts of a small, determined band of people who come to the rescue of a badly injured sea creature.
This is not only kid-friendly fare, but a lovely family movie.
| Original Score: 3/4
Gamble's rapport with his finned costar is so touching that the movie works anyway.
It gives young audiences credit for having patience and imagination, and rewards them with an engaging narrative.
Accompanying grown-ups or older siblings will have to choke down a sizable dose of schmaltz with their fish milkshakes.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
The cast is delightful, the story corny without being cloyingly high-fructose, the direction first-rate.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
A lively, winning family movie starring the very sea mammal at the center of a true story that inspired this film.
It may not be a great movie, but it is an exceptionally touching one.
The result is an excellent family film - maybe not up to 1996's "Fly Away Home'' in the kid-helps-wildlife genre but eye-opening and heartwarming and sensibility-expanding all the same.
It's rudimentary and even a little clumsy in its filmmaking technique (not a small matter), but there's some narrative ambition, at least...
Kids are going to eat this up. Given what a dismal year it's been for the family film, it's likely their parents will, too.
Freeman is clearly enjoying himself, but his mega-watt presence and some unnecessary 3D are just about the only things separating Dolphin Tale from an Animal Planet original movie.
| Original Score: C+
A pleasant family film with an improbable true story at its heart.
While the plot occasionally feels like Free Willy without the drama, it's a cute story if you don't mind temporarily trading in your cynicism for a bag of popcorn.
| Original Score: B-
Attacking a film like this for being a tad cloying seems to be missing the point. It's an intrinsic part of what "Dolphin Tale" is. It's like getting mad at a dog for barking.
| Original Score: 4/5
...if it doesn't bring a tear or two to your eye, you might need a visit to the cardiologist to see what you've got in there in place of a heart.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Winter is friendly, loving, emotional, playful, brave and intelligent. Before her Dolphin Tale is over, I dare even the most jaded cynic not to shed a tear of admiration and joy.
You'd have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by the nonfiction footage of disabled children and war vets finding inspiration in Winter.
By the end of the movie, Winter has become a mascot for human disability, especially for children, and Dolphin Tale has enough depth and sensitivity to tap into emotion without feeling manipulative.
The sheer goodness of it all might be too much to bear.
Though garnished with some heavy dollops of cheese, Dolphin Tale is a surprisingly solid, earnest family pic.