Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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'Tuck' gets stuck in sap

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 21, 2002

Movie: Tuck Everlasting.

  • Rating: PG.

Summary: Winnifred "Winnie" Foster (Alexis Bledel) is an almost 15-year-old living in a stifling Victorian household with her two rich, overprotective parents in the early 1900s. She's not "proper" enough for them, and they're planning on sending her away to an all girls' school to polish up her etiquette.

Tuck Everlasting
[Buena Vista Pictures]
Alexis Bledel and Jonathan Jackson face off in Tuck Everlasting.

But Winnie, who feels oppressed by their ways, decides to sneak outside the confines of her home to explore the gargantuan forest that waits just beyond the gates. Though she intends to be gone for only a short while, she meanders into an area of the woods she's not familiar with.

She runs across a mysterious family, the Tucks, who are hiding to keep their strange secret concealed from the outside world. Winnie begins to fall in love with Jesse (Jonathan Jackson), one of the Tuck boys, and time is passing quickly -- for her, anyway. The town launches a full-scale search for her, and now the Tucks are in grave danger of their secret being revealed and of being locked up forever.

My view: This film is based on a classic children's novel, and its literary roots were all too obvious. It was drawn out like a book, and the whole thing reminded me of those historical novels I was forced to read in elementary school. You know the ones I'm talking about -- the books that the girls loved and the boys despised. The characters were gushy, and the dialogue was sappy. "Winnifred Foster, I will forever love you, until the day I die." It doesn't get much cornier than that!

Favorite part: I was happy that this film wasn't quite sedate enough to put me to sleep! The acting was respectable, and the length of the movie (90 minutes) was endurable.

Recommendations: If you enjoyed those literary masterpieces that were forced upon you during your younger years, then I can almost guarantee you'll love this movie.

Grade: C.

-- Billy Norris, 14, is a ninth-grader at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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