This worthy but uninspired adaptation of Tom Sawyer
owes its best moments to Home Improvement
star Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who confidently inhabits his role as mischievous Tom. The screenplay (cowritten by Stephen Sommers, who also penned 1993's disappointing THE
ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN) follows Twain's novel with commendable fidelity, but tricky transitions between comic adventure and melodrama are awkwardly handled. As a clueless, inarticulate Huck, Brad Renfro, so effective in 1994's THE CLIENT, seems wholly at a loss. Warning to parents: Like the book,
the movie contains some genuinely frightening episodes.