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Film review: For the Moment

Here's another example of a moviemaker not knowing his audience. "For the Moment" is so old-fashioned that it probably won't attract youngsters, and its PG-13-rated excesses will likely put off older moviegoers.

This Canadian film is meant to celebrate the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which trained pilots from around the world for combat during the early stages of World War II. But that's really just the backdrop for soap opera turmoil, as the boys in blue find themselves romancing local farm girls.

The Americans are represented by a racist trainee and the gruff-but-good-natured sergeant who heads up the training program, and many other nationalities are present, mostly played as ster-e-o-types.

But the focus is on a charming Australian (Russell Crowe, of "Virtuosity" and "The Sum of Us"), who falls for a married woman (Christianne Hirt, who may remind you of the young Sally Field). As her husband is off fighting in the war, they recognize the danger of their relationship and remain at arm's-length initially - but it's obvious that romance is in the offing. (Who can resist a daredevil pilot who quotes poetry?)

Other characters who figure prominently are her brother, who heads off to war; her sister, engaged to one of Crowe's buddies; various members of the training crew, including a gay couple whom Crowe catches in the shower; a brooding Scotsman who spends all his time writing to his girl back home; etc.

But the most interesting character is an older woman, played by Wanda Cannon, whose husband left her with two feisty children and a run-down farm, and who has taken to selling bootleg liquor - and herself - to make ends meet. Cannon is a wonderfully natural actress and makes much more of the character than is on paper.

Writer, director and co-producer Aaron Kim Johnston obviously has great affection for his subject, and the period trappings, especially those great old biplanes, are terrific.

He is less successful with his actors, however. He does get nice performances from the leads, but fares rather poorly with some of the secondary players.

And, as mentioned, he should have resisted the temptation to exploit the sexual content.

"For the Moment" is rated PG-13 for violence, sex, brief nudity, profanity and vulgarity.