Giant Among Us

The struggle against bullies has been tackled countless times in the movies. In such a movie, would it be unforeseen for scenes to contain taunting in the bathroom, a report to the principal, and a plan for revenge? Perhaps it’s all too common for a story set in school. (The latest I’ve seen is little Chris Rock being “outblacked” by a white bully in “Everybody Hates Chris”). But this movie has a twist that wedges into the familiar story: the shorty Clifford (Chris Makepeace) recruits his tall classmate Linderman (Adam Baldwin) to be his bodyguard. Of course, it’s not Linderman’s height that put off the extortionist Moody (Matt Dillon) and his gang of punks. Ready for this: Linderman is rumored to be a disturbed killer.

For the most part, “My Bodyguard” plays out like a fantasy for whoever has gotten a beating in school, but this is far from being cheerfully Disneyfied; the movie explores Linderman’s dark and troubling past. This is a good thing. If Linderman wasn’t so complex and mysterious, the movie would lack the needed punch, since Clifford is exclusively good and Moody exclusively bad. Overall, this isn’t a must-see movie but the story is decent enough, despite its predictability. The movie mainly works due to believable performances from its three leads. I can imagine Matt Dillon’s Moody growing up to be his racist cop in “Crash,” but I’d prefer to think these kids will escape the roles they played in school. Nothing can come out good in neither being a victim nor a bully forever.

Grade: B