Straight-laced Rose breaks off relations with her party girl sister, Maggie, over an indiscretion involving Rose's boyfriend. The chilly atmosphere is broken with the arrival of Ella, the grandmother neither sister knew existed.
Two sisters, plus a dead mother, a remarried father, and a hostile step-mother. The sisters, each in her way, have perfected the art of losing. The elder, Rose, is an attorney, responsible, lonely, with a closet full of shoes. The younger is Maggie, beautiful, selfish, and irresponsible. Her drunken behavior gets her tossed by her step-mother from her dad's house; worse behavior gets her tossed from Rose's apartment. Then, while searching in her father's desk for money to filch, Maggie finds an address; the past and the future open up to her and, with any luck, may open to her sister as well. Written by
Maggie Feller is a destructive young woman who has no regards for her sister Rose, or anyone, for that matter, as we meet her. This Maggie is a mess, but what caused her to be that way? One keeps wondering how she could even be related to the meticulous Rose, a lawyer, who seems to be in control of her life. That is, until Maggie appears at Rose's door and disrupts her life, committing the ultimate sin, messing around with her sister's lover! The only thing these sisters have in common is the passion for the fancy shoes Rose loves to buy and Maggie, a penniless girl can't afford.
Curtis Hanson directed this film in which the main characters are women. Men only play a small part in this tale about two young sisters, that in spite of loving each other, grow distant because the carelessness of Maggie. Adapted from the Jennifer Weiner novel of the same title, the movie version was adapted by Susannah Grant.
The main reason for watching this uneven film is Toni Collette, who as Rose, gives one of her most detailed performances in recent memory. Ms. Collette makes us believe she is this woman whose life unravels because her irresponsible sister. Ms. Collette is perfect as the mousy Rose, who secretly would like to be like her sister, but can't bring herself to do it.
Cameron Diaz goes into a transformation in the film. We get a hint of her problems as she auditions for an MTV spot. She has grown into a wild young woman because her mother was not around to supervise, or pay attention to the sisters. But whereas Rose goes to make something of her life, Maggie rebels and does destructive things to herself. It is not until she gets to meet her unknown grandmother that she begins to put her life to good use and in the process discovers what's wrong with her.
Shirley MacLaine is seen in one of the most sedate characters of her screen career as the grandmother Ella. Family problems intervened between her and a son in law that didn't want to have her around at any cost and alienated Ella from her granddaughters. Ms. MacLaine disappears into her role and gives an underplayed performance that sets well with her two co-stars.
While the film could have used some trimming, the first half has a little more spark than the second part, which turns into a formula picture. Curtis Hanson doesn't break any new ground with this film.
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