Published Mar 12, 2009The experience of watching Crossing Over is much like reading an essay written by a particularly naive and idealistic first-year sociology major on the night before its due date. There is a thesis and a general idea of what an essay should look like but absolutely no originality of thought or any coherent arguments outside of broad generalizations, implausible stretches of logic and laughable conclusions. If it were not so unintentionally funny this film would incite actual rage from its sheer simpering factitiousness. Reality television isn't this manufactured and empty.
In an effort to present the many dilemmas and injustices of the American immigration system, Crossing Over mashes together several storylines of single-serving characters fulfilling their necessary archetype. In literally the first line of dialogue uttered in the film, Max Brogan (Harrison Ford) is described as a "bleeding heart humanist," in case anyone misses this fact later on when he steps outside of his job description as an immigration officer to help a Mexican illegal (Alice Braga) with her son.
Supporting this broad and overly simplified storyline are other related struggles involving an Australian actress (Alive Eve) who is diddling an immigration official (Ray Liotta) for a green card, while the official's attorney wife (Ashley Judd) battles a case of wrongful terrorist identification involving a teenage girl (Summer Bashil). In addition, Max's partner Hamid (Cliff Curtis) battles racism at home while his sister fornicates with a Mexican and wears revealing clothing.
The entire ordeal is so dreadfully preachy and awkwardly staged that it's nearly impossible to take seriously on any level. Really, the only thing about the film that works comes care of Summer Bashil, as her acting abilities alone help her cheesy storyline about government racial profiling generate a spark of feeling.
If the aim of this film was to point out that there are flaws in the immigration system, then perhaps Mr. Kramer could have saved us all some time and sent out an email with the requisite grammatically incorrect stories, as this overtly manufactured parable proves nothing outside of the fact that storytelling isn't for everyone. (Alliance)