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What to know: Captures you from the get go and holds your interest all the way to the end.
Recommended age 12-18
95 minutes
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Root Of The Problem is one of my new favorite films. I planned to watch the first part of the film and the rest later, but the movie was so interesting that I watched it all in one session. I love this movie because one is always eager to know what happens next.

The movie centers around an ordinary man named Paul Campbell (Sergio Di Zio) who lives in Ohio with a wife and two kids. After his wife's uncle passes away, his family is left with a plant. Unbeknownst to Paul, the plant actually grows money. Paul is the first one to discover this and he decides to keep it to himself. Being selfish and greedy, Paul only buys things for himself. Eventually, authorities catch on to his spending habits. Turn of events happen, which lead Paul to reconsider his greed and other life choices. Eventually, Paul regrets all of the choices he has made and vows to right himself.

One of my favorite scenes is when Paul decides to buy a new car, even though he has bought an expensive lawn mower without his wife's permission, which creates a feud between them. It is funny because he has the audacity to do it again, only buying something way more expensive. Sergio Di Zio acts the selfish and greedy Paul Campbell perfectly at the beginning of the movie and follows through with an amazing performance as a changed new man at the end. Di Zio has his best acting when he pours all his emotion out vividly in the scene of Paul showing his genuine remorse after his big mistake later in the film.

One thing that stands out in the movie is the music. The music in the movie fits the tone of the scenes really well. The movie starts out slow and eventually picks up the speed. It could be better if the early part got to the exciting moments more quickly, so as not to lose the younger audience with short attention spans. A number of events in the movie, such as buying a Porsche with cash, a lawn mower costing $5,000 and a tree growing money by itself, are not very plausible in real life. The screenwriter seems to throw these events in for the convenience of developing the plot.

One of the main messages of Root of the Problem is to never be greedy and, when you have a chance, always give back. Root of the Problem without a doubt meets the KIDS FIRST! baseline criteria. This movie is geared towards teenagers because younger children might not understand why certain things happen in the movie, such as the authorities' investigation of Paul. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Jason Y., KIDS FIRST! reviewer

The Root of the Problem is a film where everything is entirely adequate, but nothing more than that. The cinematography by Scott Corban Sikma guides us through the story beautifully. Though the story itself is rather uninteresting at times, and the acting is uninspiring, the music is certainly a highlight of this film. If you are ever looking for a light-hearted family film, this movie is exactly that.

The Root of the Problem is about a man, Paul Campbell, who inherits a plant from his uncle's will. Paul's family is living like any average income family - frugally and mindful of their money. But when the deceivingly ordinary plant begins to grow hundred-dollar bills, Paul trades family values for cars, machines and other expensive things. All of this causes a rift within the Campbell family.

Cinematography is one of the most important things in a film. The Root of the Problem understands this and delivers a well-shot movie. The screenplay by Francis Damberger and Joanne Sikma is a little on the bland side, though this is minor matter for a children's film. There are emotional scenes, which must be dealt with carefully to keep the viewer engaged and the actors pull it off well. Though there are negatives sides in the cast's performances. For example, Paul Campbell, played by Sergio Di Zio, nails the humor and stress his character feels when given the responsibility of acquiring his uncle's plant. But, when Paul is upset and crying, the actor struggles with being out of control and letting real tears flow freely. This causes the emotional impact of that scene to be reduced. Another thing to note is that the music is very catchy, which sets a cheeky atmosphere every time it plays. All in all, it's a solid film.

The message in The Root of the Problem is that nothing, not even money, is worth giving up your family for. Be generous, selfless and kind-hearted. These are wonderful lessons everyone can learn from.

I rate The Root of the Problem 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16. This lovely movie comes out on digital and DVD on July 7, 2020!

Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

see youth comments
When a suburban family inherits a real-life money tree, they have a one-way ticket to easy street. As they lose sight of the things that matter most, the family will be tested to discover that it is better to give than receive.
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