Laura, the NY Times review of the film by A.O. Scott agrees with your thoughts. He says flat out that it's not a great movie, but he says it's a great entertainment and exactly what we need right now. The last lines are, "It’s a piece of mainstream American entertainment in the best sense — an assertion of impatience and faith, a celebration of communal ties and individual gumption, a testimony to the power of art to turn struggles into the stuff of dreams."
I am so glad to hear that it's such a satisfying movie experience. Although I'm a little surprised that $96,000 wasn't raised to something higher. It was probably too low even back in 2008.