Full of heart and fist pumping achievement this is a story that proves no goal is unattainable when you stay focused and see it through to the end.
There are many films that are inspired by true events but few are as inspiring as Spare Parts. Full of heart and fist pumping achievement this is a story that proves no goal is unattainable when you stay focused and see it through to the end. Four Hispanic youth and a teacher that never gave up on them did something many would think impossible. When Fredi Cameron (George Lopez), a smart, successful engineer, took a substitute teaching job at a low income high school in Phoenix AZ he figured he would bide his time teaching math until something better came along. He never imagined getting involved with a team of four undocumented high school students and becoming a part of one of the nerdiest David and Goliath stories ever.
Oscar Vazquez (Carlos PenaVega) was one of those students and the first to approach Cameron about entering the national underwater robotics competition. Oscar was a diligent kid and for him losing was not an option. He had to be highly motivated if he was ever to succeed in life and overcome the obstacles in front of him. He assembled the most rag tag group of guys ever. But once they overcame their differences and odd social circles, they started to function as a team. They had very little funds and had to rely on ingenuity and spare car parts to even build the robot. But sometimes having less forces you to think more.
The story would be inspiring enough to have these kids join forces and even attempt the build a working robot. But not only did they build it but they put it up against some of the most elaborate robots built by some of the most brilliant college groups including MIT. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So in their minds coming in last to college students would be more impressive than coming in last to their peers. But what happened in that competition seems a bit too fantastic to believe.
This film covers a wide range of emotions. It is dramatic as you watch these kids fight to succeed while battling intense home lives, legalization, and other odds. At times it is light hearted and funny. This do mainly to the comedic chops of Lopez. He delivers wit with the one-two punch of a heavy weight boxer. He has an endearing persona that helps bring the real Cameron to life. Many teens, especially girls, will recognize PenaVega from the Nickelodeon boy band Big Time Rush. Carlos makes the transition from musician to actor quite well. Oscar is evidently the leader of the robotics club and everyone looks to him for guidance. PenaVega carries himself with authority and represents the focus and mature stature needed to pull of the character.
The film also stars Jamie Lee Curtis as the school principle and Marisa Tomei as one of the teachers who comes alongside of Cameron to help in this project. Curtis has a small role and you almost don't recognize her at first. She does an okay job of delivering her lines but the roles seems a bit awkward. Tomei on the other hand slips right into the role and makes the part believable. This is not a slant against Curtis. You get the feeling her scenes were shot in one day with very few takes. Almost even as an afterthought.
Spare Parts is rated PG-13 for some language and violence. There are several dramatic moments that are a bit intense for really young viewers. There are a couple of very strong expletives that may catch parents off guard. Again these are rare and are said so quickly that you may miss them. But they are there. The film is certainly safe for your older teenagers, 15 and up, and one that will inspire and entertain. I give it 3.5 out of 5 feminine products. It is an amazing story and one that is transferred to the big screen quite well.