American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"Pure Country" tells a laborious but likable story, not amazingly original, about a country music superstar who tires of performing in big stadium extravaganzas, and begins to yearn for the days when it was just him and his acoustic guitar. He has a point.
His show is so overwhelmed with special effects that when he takes a hike one day, his manager's boyfriend is able to fill in for him, and no one notices.
The movie stars George Strait, himself a country superstar, in a role which probably reflects autobiographical musings if not actual facts. This is the latest of several introspective country music biopics - John Mellencamp's "Falling from Grace" and Willie Nelson's "Honeysuckle Rose" come to mind - in which a star wearies of touring and goes back home to his roots. Singers who are seriously considering this strategy might also want to study Paul Simon's "One Trick Pony," in which a singer is granted his wish, and winds up back in those little clubs with his acoustic guitar, working for peanuts.
Strait is not an actor in the class of Mellencamp or Nelson, but he is genuine and has a winning smile, and holds his own in a screenplay that makes few demands. Lesley Ann Warren plays his loyal but dictatorial manager, who has added lasers, smoke, exploding fireworks and all the other gimmicks to his show, and who pushes her boyfriend onstage when Strait announces he is going for a walk, and does so.