review for Corrina, Corrina on AllMovie

Corrina, Corrina (1994)
by Perry Seibert review

Jessie Nelson's Corrina, Corrina takes such potentially touchy topics as race relations and the grieving process of a young girl who has lost her mother, and fashions a friendly, feel-good love story. The soft-peddled script would make the movie nearly unbearable if not for the skill of Ray Liotta, Whoopi Goldberg, and especially Tina Majorino, who has been given the cute moppet role but is doing her best to play the initially mute child as a real human. Liotta writes jingles while Goldberg dreams of writing liner notes for jazz albums. This connection leads to some excellent uses of the late-'50s setting, and allows just enough ground for their relationship to feel like it is based on something other than plot necessities. But like her later film I Am Sam, Nelson avoids confronting the messiest aspects of the lives of her characters. Corrina, Corrina could have been a sharply observed period piece and character study (the actors certainly seemed up for the task), but settles instead for mushy feel-good sentiment.