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Movie Review: My Kid Could Paint That

Alternate Title: Be Careful What You Wish For

Story: This is a thought provoking documentary about art, exploitation, hype, the proverbial 15 minutes of fame, the power of the media, parenting and the role of documentary film makers. You might recall the story of four year old Marla Olmstead who made International news with her abstract paintings. She went from an art world phenom, selling her work for thousands of dollars, to pariah, after a negative Charlie Rose 60 Minutes 11 piece within a short period of time. Director Amir Bar-Lev's fascinating documentary covers lots of ground from the nature of art to the marketing of a child that garnered enormous press and instant celebrity.

The filmmaker was well into creating a positive documentary about this story when the 60 Minutes piece broke. His questions about the authenticity of the story evolves. Is he now becoming a part of the story? Did little Marla create the work herself? Did her amateur artist father help her? Why can't she create her work when being filmed by outside media? Does it matter if she did not make the art herself? Does that make the art any less valid? Bar-Lev talks to NY Times art critic Michael Kimmelman, who discusses the nature of art and he also speaks with the reporter who started the whole story, the gallery owner who promotes her work, the collectors and lots of footage on the family itself. Judge for yourself.

For those art lovers out there who still think art stopped bring art when the Impressionists died, I am sorry to inform you that most art is, in fact commerce. The Impressionists too, were marketers who enjoyed seeing a red dot on the art gallery wall and hearing the ka-ching of a sale. The market dictates the value of art and whether it is created by a child, an elephant or a schooled technician, it is still art. Taste, however, is another story.

If you want to see more on the Marla story and also see her paint, check out her website. http://www.marlaolmstead.com

By the way - the Marla story continues. Her parents are very resilient and she recently had a show in LA where her paintings are going for over $25,000.

Acting: If you think the whole story is a fraud then kudos to her parents - who fooled us all with some amazing acting.

Predilection: Hello? I am an artist. This is my interest.

Critters: A dog.

Food: Breakfast stuff. Marla likes to paint when she gets up in the morning, after breakfast - or so they say.

Sex Spectrum: No sex - unless you can find some in the abstract art.

Blatant Product Placement: Marla is the product.

Soundtrack: Appropriate. I particularly liked the closing title song - When I Paint My Masterpiece by Bob Dylan.

Visual Art: Lots and lots of art other than Marla's including many abstract expressionists such as Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock

Theater Audience: About a dozen art lovers.

Weather: It was surprisingly nice in Binghamton, NY, where Marla and her family live.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The idea of child exploitation is a bit squirmy.

Drift Factor: I was intent throughout.

Predictability Level: If you do not know the story you will be a little surprised here and there.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Soap Box: I could rant on and on about the nature of art, the business of art, what styles I like in art - but that is for another time and another place.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. For other films about artists you could rent: Alice Neel, My Architect, Vincent and Theo, Basquiat, Pollock, I Shot Andy Warhol, Crumb, Artemisia, Surviving Picasso and Frida

Length: 90 minutes