Unnatural Conversion: Seven Days in Utopia

Seven Days in Utopia

stars Robert Duvall and Lucas Black; Matthew Dean Russell directs.

A fantasy about a temperamental, wand-wielding young man named Luke and the aphorism-uttering master who leads him to enlightenment, Seven Days in Utopia transposes Jedi mythology to the manicured greens of competitive golf. But unlike the Excalibur-on-the-baseball-diamond antics of The Natural, Matt Russell's modern myth trades out hero worship for a hero who worships.

After an epic meltdown on the 18th hole of his professional debut, handsome hotshot Luke Chisholm (Lucas Black) swerves his sedan onto the Texas farm of one Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall), a wizened old Yoda who just happens to be a retired golf pro. With his car wrecked just enough, and a wholesome redhead (Deborah Ann Woll) making eyes at him from across the haystacks, Luke agrees to stick around for a week of eccentric private lessons and golf metaphors.

For a time, the film shoulders its hokum rather well, with Black strutting convincingly and Duvall's mouthy mugging mostly in check. But all those shots of heavenly shafts of light eventually climax in unabashed Christian conversion, with our Golf Whisperer bequeathing Luke a Bible as a power-pop song exults, It feels like I'm born again. "See it, feel it, trust it," Johnny teaches.

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