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It's my understanding that the production of this film was nightmarish for a lot of reasons that I won't bother to go into. Unlike many other films with those types of problems, it certainly doesn't show on screen here. Jean Smart and Jennifer Elise Cox (who costarred together in the first "Brady Bunch" movie) play off each other well. Smart, the domineering Jacquelyn-Suzanne-obsessed mother, feels as if she could really be the mother of ditzy sequin-loving Cox. In fact, everyone in this film seem to click together as if they've known each other their whole lives, which make the slow-moving film far more interesting.
While I like all the performances, I have to brag about Jean Smart. It seems like she was born to play this character -- a culmination of nearly every character she's ever played -- she has Charlene Frasier's accent (from "Designing Women"), Chelsea Steven's obsessiveness (from "Style and Substance"), Ellie Walker's flamboyance (from "High Society"), and Aileen Wurnos's rage (from "Overkill"). When the film begins, it seems Smart's second banana to Cox, but as the film progresses, Smart blossoms and takes center stage.
The version that I saw (though it's probably been re-edited since then) was a bit uneven. While totally enjoyable, I left the film feeling like there was something missing -- though that probably stems from the behind-the-scenes problems. Smart is supposed to have this big mystery surrounding her departure from Texas, but once we learn why she left Texas, it feels like there should have been more to it. There were a few other scenes that felt incomplete, like either a scene was cut (or never shot), but that's a small gripe about a fabulous film that I would love to watch over and over again -- if it ever gets released on video or TV. And hopefully it will one of these years. . . reportedly Lifetime Movie Network is supposed to air it soon (if only they'd play it on a network that's actually on my cable system).
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