“The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” features strong work by Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, Jordin Sparks and Anthony Mackie. But they’re just the supporting cast. Juvenile actors Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon outshine their older colleagues in the title roles of this moving New York-set drama about the friendship between two boys who are forced to survive on their own for several months when their mothers — both impoverished, drug-addicted prostitutes — are arrested.
The melodrama is laid on thick at times in a script by Michael Starrburry that’s more mawkish than it needs to be. Early in the film, eighth-grader Mister (Brooks) stumbles upon his mother (Hudson) performing oral sex in the stall of a restaurant men’s room, just so she can pay for their meal. Later, after her son and his younger neighbor, Pete (Dizon), have managed to elude the cops looking for them after their mothers’ arrests, Pete’s pet hamster dies of starvation. It’s almost unbearably maudlin stuff, with references to child molestation and other abuse.