Miles' own father, it is revealed in a series of none too subtle references, is a famous jazz musician himself, who could not deal with his son's condition and abandoned the family. If the film were not so intent on demonizing Miles' father as a self-centered, insensitive lout, his character might have provided the opportunity to examine the very real difficulties of raising a child with such a socially disruptive disease. Instead, director Gary Winick chooses the easy way out-the saintly mother who takes it all in stride. There is also an interesting idea floating around about music being an outlet for those who are handicapped either physically and emotionally, but Winick leaves it aside for safer terrain-indeed after the first half hour of "The Tic Code" we never hear Miles play again.
While there are some real and moving scenes--Miles asking his mother, "Which would you rather, no hands or no feet?"; Polly Draper (who also wrote the screenplay) as Miles' mother, Laura, shyly insecure on her first date with Tyrone--there is also some very clumsy storytelling. Fortunately, many of the film's flaws are smoothed over by the fine cast. As Laura, Draper, who has come a long way since her "thirtysomething" days, is just the right mix of sensible and sensitive, and Marquette, while charming and bright, is not afraid to play Miles as an obnoxious little brat when necessary. It is a pity that the film itself did not take as adventurous an approach.
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