Call this one The Empire Strikes Back of Dolphin Tale movies, in that it is slightly better than the original (not much—just slightly) and it has Tauntauns (actually, that’s not true). The likes of Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. rejoin annoying child actors Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (yes, the Cozi Zuehlsdorff) for another round of gooey sentimentality involving dolphins. This time out, and probably due to all of those current issues involving whales and dolphins in captivity, the story spends a lot of time on rehabbing and releasing animals rather than confining them for human amusement. In addition to Winter, the dolphin with the prosthetic tail, there’s a pretty awesome sea turtle and a kooky pelican that kids will love. The movie kind of works as educational fare, but when it drifts away from the aquarium tanks it’s a real hell ride. It must be said that Harry Connick Jr. can’t act for beans, Ashley Judd’s career has really hit the skids, and Morgan Freeman just has no business being within a million miles of this film. Gamble and Zuehlsdorff (yes, the Cozi Zuehlsdorff) are, I’m sure, a couple of exquisite human beings, but watching them in a movie is an annoying, tedious task. I love the dolphins and aquatic life in this film. It’s the humans who drive me crazy.

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