The Secret: Dare to Dream

Well, here’s a movie that’ll make it tough for Katie Holmes to ever mock Tom Cruise’s religion. She stars as widowed Miranda Wells, who’s in debt and overwhelmed by added expenses courtesy of bad teeth and three children. (Miranda’s also stuck with a mother-in-law who disappoints the ungrateful kids by making them Eggs Benedict instead of breakfast cereal.) The only thing that Miranda has going for her is a fabulously rich boyfriend. Fortunately, mysterious stranger Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas) drives into New Orleans just in time to help after a hurricane sends a tree crashing through her roof. Bray won’t settle for patching up the house, though. He moonlights as a walking version of producer Rhonda Byrne’s self-help book The Secret. That means he’s a master of using positive thinking to conjure up things like an eerily specific pizza delivery. An early flashback helpfully gives away Bray’s other secret that he’s a crazed sadist making a family suffer through needless trauma simply to convert them all to his bizarre beliefs. Troubled viewers expecting a pleasant faith-based family film can still distract themselves by noting that Holmes is finding steady work as a frazzled version of Angelina Jolie. This is also the rare script that benefits from Lucas’ bizarre habit of playing his leading men as different gay stereotypes. And since we already know that The Secret clearly endorses The Secret, it’s no surprise when the plot wraps up with a creepy final moment where a character coldly declares, “I can have anything I want” – at the continuing expense of those who don’t know the secret to being wealthy enough to buy happiness.

[PG]