The Real Howard Spitz
Howard Spitz is a cranky, has-been detective novelist out of money and out of luck – until he meets 8-year-old Samantha, who convinces him he has what it takes to write children’s books.
It takes something a little more than an actor—even a good actor—to contribute to a production like The Real Howard Spitz. It takes willingness, versatility. It takes someone aware of his or her own talents; and just as good, a spot to play a little silly for the kids’ sake. Such an actor as Kelsey Grammer to play the titular role of a worn-out, grumpy-to-his-ends novelist is perfect for the project, and with a little twinkle of belief in his eye as Howard Spitz, the film comes together into a sweet whole.Just because it is on the silly side for the kids’ sake does not deem this movie exclusively for kids. It should be, with its friendly plot that takes adults as seriously as it does children. It is so refreshing to see a child actor’s aura matter to each scene in the film, and young Genevieve Tessier’s performance works well as a foil to Grammer, who knows how to play cranky and irritable—and how to change heart. No matter what age, we can see his character through his acting and not just by who he says he is. Howard Spitz, however, contains a lot of language in the beginning, written into the screenplay to provide edginess to the title character. But it is futile language, simply because Grammer can communicate these feelings without it. With all of that in mind, it is otherwise a good, recommendable film on its own legs. Kids will find its themes of surrogate parenthood warming, and parents will enjoy see a familiar face in Grammer. Dove is proud to award the film with approval for Ages 12+.