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Nearing his 60th birthday, a movie producer discovers that he may have less than a year to live as a result of inoperable cancer. The effects of his disease take the toll on him and his distressed wife. However, his dysfunctional family are not told and their soap opera-ish life goes on. His son, a has-been actor, has to deal with a precocious daughter and a drug-addled ex-wife and sells AIDS patients insurance policies until he becomes attracted to one. His step-sister learns that her real father murdered her mother & then committed suicide. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Having read the book by Bruce Wagner, but not having seen the 1998 screen adaptation, we decided to take a look based on the strong cast in it. Mr. Wagner wrote the screen treatment of his own novel. This is a film that offers some interesting points, although, it appears it read much better in the page than what we watch on the screen.
The basic problem with the film is that we don't care much for these characters. They seem to have everything, but yet, they are incapable of connecting with one another. The revelation at the beginning of the film about Perry's grave illness doesn't bring his family to bond with one another in the face of what the future will bring.
The son Bertie is an aspiring actor who is going through a rough period in his life. Tragedy strikes in a way he didn't expect, yet, this man doesn't seem to register any emotion. The adopted girl, Rachel, gets too deep into an area that might give her closure with his dead parents. AIDS enters the picture in the form of Aubrey, the beautiful woman who is also having her own crisis in dealing with her reality.
Frank Langella, as Perry does a good job in his take of the rich man facing his own mortality. Andrew McCarthy tries his best to convey a certain degree of decency to his Bertie. Rosanna Arquette has one of the best opportunities in the film. Elizabeth Perkins's Aubrey is not seen too long for us to care enough for her. Salome Jens, an under used actress plays Perry's wife Diantha. Buck Henry, Amanda Donohue, Ed Begley Jr, and the rest of the cast make adequate contributions to the film.
Ultimately, the film, as presented by Mr. Wagner feels empty because we don't connect to these people at all.
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