Crossing Over: Embracing Illegal Immigration

Crossing Over asks us to embrace these hard-luck immigrants, warts and all. All they want is their shot at the American dream. But it‘s hard to rally around these fledgling citizens. Just try identifying with Bangladeshi teen Taslima (Summer Bishil of Towelhead), who defends the 9/11 hijackers during an incendiary speech at her high school. That nasty bit of business is leaked, and suddenly FBI agents swarm her home and learn she's not in the country legally. Boohoo, even though the case built against her is wafer thin.

Like Crash, Crossing Over can't help but entertain for short stretches. It's hard not to be taken in by the melodrama, even if one out of every two notes rings false. And bravo to Ford for taking a smaller role in an independent feature. It's exactly the right path he should follow, since the mainstream movies offered to him lately barely tap his potential.

However, this character is also beneath Ford, and he can't give Brogan a life beyond the stilted script. He's too quiet and reflective, without us sensing there's something deeper at play here. It's a problem the erstwhile Indiana Jones has had of late, underplaying to the point of drowsiness. Maybe Ford should go the Al Pacino route at this point in his career, over-emoting until the cords in his neck stand out. At least we'll know he's on screen.

Crossing Over is rarely content to let each scene breathe. Instead, the emotions are ratcheted up beyond realistic expectations. That's particularly galling during a liquor store hold-up that awkwardly segues into a speech about what an honor it is to be a U.S. citizen. Deep down, Crossing Over loves America as much as Sean Hannity, for the freedoms it offers its citizens and its noble principles. But it's hard to say how scrapping the current immigration policies will help. How can any nation, even one as great as the U.S., support a massive influx of immigrants with no checks or balances?

The film has no easy solutions, although it ends with a twist that inadvertently undermines its narrative. The surprise reminds us that some cultures may not blend smoothly with the American way of life.

All the more reason to embrace a sane immigration policy, not open borders.