Time Out says
A solidly crafted if ultimately unexceptional family film about the mentor-pupil relationship of a disfigured outcast and a fatherless 12-year-old boy. 'Hamburger Head' McLeod (Gibson) lives on an island, keeping visitors at bay with his Alsatian dog and his surly manner. Desperate to get into the military college attended by his missing father, Chuck Norstadt overcomes his fear and asks the former teacher to tutor him for the entrance exam. Nick Stahl is fine as the boy, but director Gibson could, perhaps, have dispensed with the redundant extracts from Red River and The Merchant of Venice.