Talented young artist Joshua (Josh Hutcherson) finds himself abandoned in Carmel-by-the-sea, California when his drug addicted mother leaves. Having slept rough, rummaged through bins for hood and hustled to make money he comes to the attention of Everly Campbell (Alfred Molina) who comes across as an art dealer but is in fact a dealer of forgeries who offers to make Joshua rich if he agrees to use his remarkable talents to replicate some valuable art. But Joshua is unsure over committing the fraud as not only does he have a crush on local school girl Amber (Hayden Panettiere) who has a protective brother in Ryan (Scott Eastwood) but he also gets to know old artist Anne-Marie (Lauren Bacall) who lives along the coast and has secrets of her own.
You have a movie with more star names than you can count on one hand including greats such as Lauren Bacall and Alfred Molina yet to your surprise it has barely been reviewed by anyone. Not only that it features a story around forgery and a young hustler which sounds ripe for excitement and yet hardly anyone has reviewed it. So that made me think even before watching "The Forger" that there must have been something which really went wrong with this movie.
Having watched "The Forger" I can say with hand on heart something did go wrong as somehow this is the most middle of the road, ordinary movie going. That starts with a storyline which has too much going on. We have Joshua being taken in by Everly who sells forgeries, there is the romance with Amber, there is the mystery surrounding Anne-Marie and what she knows of Everly plus there is the social worker who is trying to track down Joshua's mother. On top of this there is a styling element with the occasional interjection of narration from the Joshua character which makes this a reminiscence on his past as if this movie was in part a biopic. These stories don't make "The Forger" interesting; it makes it feel padded out.
But the issues don't stop there and the next go hand in hand because whilst Josh Hutcherson was only 19 when he made this and still looked young he didn't look 15 and Hayden Panettiere certainly looked to old to be playing a teenager in a school uniform. But these two actors bring with them a certain expectation as do some of the other cast members and with a story about forgery the decision to just play it as a straight drama makes it incredibly ordinary to the point of bordering on the dull. In many ways it is the older cast members, Lauren Bacall and Alfred Molina who make this sort of work because the straight drama suits them better.
I could go on because "The Forger" is one of those movies which is full of imperfections from the way characters behave to plot holes and it makes a movie which whilst keeping you watching because of some mysteries could have been so much better.
What this all boils down to is that "The Forger" ends up not the exciting movie it should have been and is kind of disappointing that it is played as a straight drama as it robs both Hutcherson and Panettiere of their natural characters and charm. But whilst disappointing you find yourself persevering just to find out how it will play out.