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Parents' Guide to

The Newton Boys

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Fact-based, slow-paced '90s Western has some violence.

Movie PG-13 1998 122 minutes
The Newton Boys Poster Image

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The greatest appeal of THE NEWTON BOYS is the collective charm of its four handsome young leads, wearing pretty costumes and having a good ol' time with Texas accents, shotguns, and cowboy hats. Otherwise the movie often feels as if it's meandering from one fact-based event to another, without much regard for how it ought to instead add up to an artfully told, well-constructed story. Willis' romance with Louise (the wasted Julianna Margulies) feels strained and irrelevant, with McConaughey expressing vacant-eyed love and Margulies smiling, the entire relationship completely devoid of any discernible chemistry.

While this is neither a drama nor a comedy, it wants to be both, like the two far superior movies it recalls, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. Perhaps the filmmakers felt constrained by a desire to adhere to actual historical events. If only they could have found a way to do that and still move the action along in a more disciplined and less plodding manner. It feels like it's at least a solid half-hour too long.

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