|I Am Sam|
Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning, Dianne Wiest, Laura Dern
Widescreen; closed caption; English subtitles; commentary by director/co-screenwriter Jessie Nelson; deleted and alternate scenes with optional director commentary; original documentary "Becoming Sam"; theatrical trailer. DVD-ROM content: Script-to-screen, link to original Web site, "Hot Spot."
|Sam, a mentally challenged L.A. coffee-shop employee and Beatles fan, played with gusto and no shame by Sean Penn, is seduced by a homeless woman who abandons him with the baby daughter resulting from their liaison. Innocent, endearing Sam does a diligent job of raising the child with the help of friends, including his disabled pals and the agoraphobic piano teacher (Dianne Wiest) next door. But the little girl's mental acuity soon outstrips Daddy's intellect, and social workers are on the case. To keep guardianship, Sam approaches a high-powered lawyer, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, but she has family problems of her own. There's no denying the commitment of Penn and Pfeiffer, who seem to believe that they're doing an "important" film, and the camera-ready acting chops of kid phenom Dakota Fanning, who's so good as Sam's precocious daughter that she comes off like Stella Adler's tiniest star pupil. But the TV-movie pathos that rings throughout is a bit much to take.|