As 8-year-old Pete O’Malley (Adi Stein) ends second grade, he’s a little concerned about how many times his teacher, a crusty nun, has warned that he’s headed to hell. So while most of his seven siblings enjoy the simple pleasures of summer vacation, Pete decides to undertake a quest: He will save someone’s soul. The nearest enclave of the damned in the boy’s mid-’70s Chicago neighborhood is the local synagogue, where Pete befriends easygoing Rabbi Jacobsen (Kevin Pollack). Pete’s soul search goes slowly at first, but then it’s jump-started by a calamity and a potential calamity: Rabbi Jacobsen’s house burns, and his son Danny (Mike Weinberg) is diagnosed with leukemia. The blaze introduces the rabbi to Pete’s dad (Aidan Quinn), an earnest if somewhat bullying and anti-Semitic fireman. And Danny’s ailment provides a soul that’s possibly in imminent need of being directed to heaven, inspiring Pete to improvise a theological program that’s supposed to be cute. This well-meaning low-budget film is the result of Project Greenlight, a contest in which Miramax, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck, among others, chose a first-time filmmaker’s script for production. Given that the writer-director’s name is Pete Jones, it seems likely that the movie has an element of autobiography. That’s not the same thing as verisimilitude, however. Although Stolen Summer addresses a few controversial subjects, it does so in a blandly heart-tugging way. Ultimately, both Petes decide that dogma is unimportant, that admission to heaven is determined by a person’s goodness. This, roughly, is the Pelagian heresy, for which the Catholic Church used to burn people at the stake. But then, you could hardly expect an 8-year-old to know that.—Mark Jenkins