The Book of Henry

An insufferably precocious schoolboy (Jaeden Lieberher) dies of a brain tumor and leaves his single mother (Naomi Watts) with one hell of an inheritance: a journal in which he insists that the girl next door (Maddie Ziegler) is being sexually abused by her father (Dean Norris), the police commissioner, and lays out a plan of attack against him. The story is so outlandish and emotionally freighted that only an iron control of tone and characterization might have salvaged it, but director Colin Trevorrow, working from a script by Gregg Hurwitz, tastelessly jumbles together eccentric, Salingeresque comedy and rickety, unconvincing melodrama. Watts throws herself into the project, much like a first responder to an emergency. With Sarah Silverman and Bobby Moynihan.