Fourth grader Cecil Stevens is reminded of his lisp every time he says his name, so he changes it to “Michael Jordan.” His whole school learns a lesson about acceptance after he and his friends start a business with the corrupt principal that charges to give kids celebrity names.
Cecil Stevens’ parents’ dysfunctional marriage and subsequent separation forces him to start a school at a brand new place. Thankfully, when Cecil and his mother move in with Cecil’s grandmother, he immediately makes a new friend named Abby, the editor of the school newspaper. The two are fast friends, but as we find out later in the film, Abby lost quite a few friends early on and suffers quite a bit of insecurity, which doesn’t pan out well when we realize that Cecil has a very pronounced lisp. Abby thinks she’s figured out how to forgo all social embarrassment and tries her hardest to protect her new friend by trying to control his actions. Cecil Stevens, however, redeems his lisp with his hidden basketball talent. But instead of telling the coach his real name, he tells the team that his name is Michael Jordan.
The story gets much more intense when Abby and Cecil sneak into the principal’s office and hack into the computer system to officially change Cecil’s name to Michael Jordan when suddenly the principal walks in. As the two hide under his desk, they realize the principal is taking money from the school and shutting down all of their school programs, including Abby’s school newspaper! As a way of saving the newspaper, the two start a business selling new names to kids throughout the school, but when the evil school principal finds out, he begins taking 80 percent of their profits!
As the story plays out, we get to see how bad guys don’t win in the end, how the names we are given are perfectly suited for each of us, and how reconciliation can happen when we choose to unite. Oh, and let’s not forget … kids with lisps are just as cool as the rest of the school.
Cecil is a quality movie that merits the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages.
The Dove Take
A speech impediment didn’t stop Moses, and it doesn’t outsmart a fourth-grader who shows that we can always find ways around our limitations.