'Annapolis'

Overachievement may go down as Justin Lin's great subject—if only he weren't a superlative case study. First his muddled Goodfellas satire Better Luck Tomorrow got a pass as a boon to Asian Americans in the movies, and now Annapolis, his often laughably overwrought rehash of An Officer and a Gentleman, ekes out enough of a subtext on competition to qualify as a non-fiasco. At any rate, this is probably the first time a commanding officer has taunted his recruit with the line "Ooohh, I forgot. You're a wait-lister." James Franco is Jake Huard, a low-scoring Annapolis, Maryland, native who escapes a destiny of factory work by joining the navy across the way. Lin once again pushes the issue of minorities to the foreground, but his blunt schematics—Jake's three roommates all have different ethnicities; his superior (Tyrese Gibson) is black; and his instructor cum love interest (Jordana Brewster) is a woman—hardly play as gritty realism, and Iraq's absence from the equation seems flat-out craven. Eventually, Jake's desire to make it in the academy boxing championship transforms Annapolis into a pugilist picture, with Jake forced to swallow his pride and ask girly Brewster to train him. It's a marginally subversive moment in a movie that otherwise falls in line.

 
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