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gregorybnyc

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52 reviews in total 
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Catherine Frot is a Magical Screen Presence, 25 February 2014
7/10

I've only seen Catherine Frot in one other movie--Coline Serreau's stunningly complicated CHAOS and she was marvelous. So when HAUTE CUISINE showed up on Netflix, I jumped at it. I love movies about food--WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE?, BIG NIGHT, MOSTLY MARTHA, EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, BABETTE'S FEAST. They almost always manage to find humanity, absurdity and gently funny moments associated with food. Based on the real story of the first female chef who comes to cook for President Mitterand at the Elysee Palace, HAUTE CUSINE is a sweetly earnest story of Hortense Laborie, a fine French cook who is pulled away from her truffle farm in France to become the personal chef of the French president. Along the way she will encounter the petty and mean-spirited competition from the all-male kitchen that serves the palace, as she works tirelessly to provide the President with the foods he remembers from his childhood. The story is told in flashbacks as Hortense s finishing up a year-long stint as a cook for a research group in Anartica.

What makes the film work is the casting of Catherine Frot as Hortense. This superb actress gives Hortense a tense, focused and convincing believability. Horrtense arouses total loyalty from her sous chef and maitre'd as the palace personalities around her make life often rather difficult. Losing her calm only once, Frot has a confrontation in the movie that is a very satisfying answer to the pettiness she is surrounded by at the Palace. It is in stark contrast to the grateful affection she is shown by the men she cooks for every day in coldly forbidding Anartica.

HAUTE CUISINE is a quiet film of disarming charm. It doesn't break new ground, but it is a very satisfying movie which Catherine Frot at its center. Some have complained here that is a trifle and I'm not entirely disagreeing, but it is a movie worth seeing. I know I'll be seeing it again.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Violent and Over-The-Top, But Good, Game Cast, 23 January 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thank goodness Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker have good chemistry because they are not allowed any time for a relationship to develop. In a blink they are smack-dab in a romance. But this police thriller has some funky, operatic and over-the-top moments that show the plot's weaknesses. The clichés keep piling up from the bad-mouthing, trash- talking banter between "Irish" and "Italian" cops, to the endless profanity, and the staginess of the big scenes. It's also pretty violent.

Bruce Willis is almost always a good action hero. Sarah Jessica Parker knows how to do the girl part perfectly. Their scenes have real chemistry. Dennis Farina is always a great cop and he manages to keep you fascinated even when his sons are acting perfectly ridiculous. John Mahoney, Andre Braugher and Timothy Busfield show their talent and professionalism and are captured before bigger roles made them major TV stars. I did find Braugher chewing up the scenery a bit too lustily in the hearing scene.

I save Robert Pastorelli's utterly hammy appearance for last. He's a fine actor and I loved his classically funny house painter, Eldin on Murphy Brown. But he's assigned the psycho role here and the screenplay doesn't give him any depth at all. He's just an insane psychopath. There's not a clue as to why he behaves as he does. Maybe the director should have stepped in more to tone it down. The final confrontation with Willis steals from every thriller you've ever seen, most obviously Fatal Attraction. And it goes on forever.

Rerun on TV it was fun to encounter this movie, which I had not seen when it was first released.

Not a Bad Movie if You Can Take Some Truly Mediocre Singing, 3 September 2013
5/10

I finally screwed up my courage and sat through this on Sunday. I thought the director did a very good job of pacing this dark and gloomy tale. But only Anne Hathaway could truly sing it, and her acting was touching and believable. She deserved her Academy Award. The rest of the cast was pretty miserable, vocally. I suppose Hugh Jackman has yelled himself out of a once truly nice Broadway lyric baritone. "Bring him home," was full or rocky moments, vocally, and he resorted to yelling without a floating lyric line, necessary for this difficult-to-sing role. Besides, asForbidden Broadway waggishly lampooned the song, "it's too high," for his lower-centered voice.

Russell Crowe was a dour Jauvert and his singing was unpleasantly one-dimensional. Samantha Barks' Eponine was sincere, but the singing was uneven. Amanda Seyfried's Cosette twittered in a high, squeaky, unsupported soprano that was unpleasant to listen to. Eddie Redmayne as Marius, sang well enough, but lacked charisma in close-ups. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen mostly spoke their song lyrics, and "Master of the House" passed by without any impact at all.

Whoever was responsible for the musical side of things on this picture, was undone by camera-ready stars with inadequate voices. This is a sung-through musical, with dialog that requires expressive singing, near operatic singing. Only Marius's doomed revolutionaries had the necessary vocal thrust for their parts.

The reason the movie musical is an endangered species--oh hell, the genre is as dead as a western--is that movie studios put musical matters in the hands of people who don't trust the music to make its affect. The composers of LES MISERABLES intended for this score to be sung by professional singing actors. They had enough star power with Jackman and Hathaway. It didn't need mediocre singing to undermine one's enjoyment.

Compelling TV with A Riveting Star at its Center, 7 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've slogged through two full seasons and just about a quarter way through the third and final season of this nearly excellent series. Simon Baker play Nick Fallin, the son/partner of a Pittsburgh law firm. The other Fallin is the always excellent Dabney Coleman. Nick's day job is handling legal work for Pittsburgh's wealthy and powerful elite. But a nasty drug habit nearly derailed his career. To avoid jail, Nick spends a lot of his days working for a cash-strapped children's protection services agency that handles legal issues of the city's poorest, neediest, and in dire straights. Penance comes via helping these kids who have fallen through society's every crack in the system to find them homes, or shelters, or mental facilities, step-families, reunite them with lost relatives. These stories are heartbreakingly real. And the show's writers show no mercy. This is truly a show with virtually no happy endings.

To say Nick has issues is pure understatement. Outwardly glamorous, good-looking, successful, Nick is an emotional basket case, cut off from just about everything. He loves his father, but Burton's macho posturing and sense of his own power entitlement often puts himself at odds with his son. Father and son love each other deeply, but the writers never give them an emotional break from the nearly non-stop tragedy that befalls them in every episode. Worse, Nick's so busy putting our fires at the agency and at the law firm, he has no time to stop and take stock-- ever.

THE GUARDIAN will remind viewers of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, two classic Steven Bochco series. They all share that jerky, single camera, technique. The dialog is often gritty and the plots are freighted with tough irony and often senseless tragedy. The writers, sensing the characters of the young black lawyer, kills him off before the end of the second season, even though he was a regular the audience had already invested a lot of emotion behind. Why kill him off? It made no dramatic sense. The character of Jake, a kind of loser lawyer in Nick's firm, is often the brunt of cruelty and why? Because his legal degree is from a lesser college. Suddenly after two seasons, Jack is revealed to be in a homosexual relationship which comes out of nowhere. There was nothing in the character that would indicate he was gay and when it does comes to light, all the viewer can do is say, "huh." Talk about not seeing that coming!

Similarly, Nick's relationship with Lulu is puzzling. Both of them seem incapable of finding emotional balance in the other unless they are snatching a quickie. Then they put on their clothing and we're back in why-are-they-behaving-like-that?-land. Neither one of them ever raise their voices and its frustrating to watch them NOT connect. I agree with another poster who who said they truly lack chemistry. The actress who plays Lulu, is awfully tight lipped.

Alvin, the head of the children's protection services agency, is played by Adam Rosenberg (who had a nice run on Cybil). Alvin is full of Jewish schtick, plus he's a recovered alcoholic. We are asked to believe this deeply flawed character lives for the protection of the kids the lawyers are asked to defend. Yet Alvin's behavior is nuts. He interferes in issues that are none of his business, such as reporting a colleague's violence towards his badly behaved nephew when he decides to discipline him in a boxing match. Frankly the kid need his ass kicked, and Alvin's interference costs the kid his life, and ultimately the life of the young lawyer whom he respects. It's a stupid story line.

What makes THE GUARDIAN WORK is Simon Baker as Nick Fallin. He's not a flashy actor, and he works in a kind of minimalist way. He speaks quietly, and draws the viewer into his dark world of hurt, disappointment, frustrated love, and stress, as well as his ability to be both a shark as a corporate lawyer and a compassionate and empathetic advocate for lost kids You want him to make peace with his father once and for all, the cost on him is emotional distance. Baker shows all this and a lot more. Nick's flaws and complications make for a fascinating anti-hero character. There's ambivalence in the way he can work both sides of the law. You don't dislike this guy because he can be both bad and good. I think Nick is looking for redemption, but temptation is always calling him to err.

Kathleen Chalfont is a semi-regular on the series and should be singled out for praise. She should be working non-stop. Always investing her lines with a believability, Ms. Chalfont compels attention.

Because Simon Baker is so good here, I'll have to start watching episodes of Baker's current series, THE MENTALIST. I found this whole series on Netflix. Worth checking out if you missed it when the show first ran.

Compelling TV with A Riveting Star at its Center, 6 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've slogged through two full seasons and just about a quarter way through the third and final season of this nearly excellent series. Simon Baker play Nick Fallin, the son/partner of a Pittsburgh law firm. The other Fallin is the always excellent Dabney Coleman. Nick's day job is handling legal work for Pittsburgh's wealthy and powerful elite. But a nasty drug habit nearly derailed his career. To avoid jail, Nick spends a lot of his days working for a cash-strapped children's protection services agency that handles legal issues of the city's poorest, neediest, and in dire straights. Penance comes via helping these kids who have fallen through society's every crack in the system to find them homes, or shelters, or mental facilities, step-families, reunite them with lost relatives. These stories are heartbreakingly real. And the show's writers show no mercy. This is truly a show with virtually no happy endings.

To say Nick has issues is pure understatement. Outwardly glamorous, good-looking, successful, Nick is an emotional basket case, cut off from just about everything. He loves his father, but Burton's macho posturing and sense of his own power entitlement often puts himself at odds with his son. Father and son love each other deeply, but the writers never give them an emotional break from the nearly non-stop tragedy that befalls them in every episode. Worse, Nick's so busy putting our fires at the agency and at the law firm, he has no time to stop and take stock-- ever.

THE GUARDIAN will remind viewers of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, two classic Steven Bochco series. They all share that jerky, single camera, technique. The dialog is often gritty and the plots are freighted with tough irony and often senseless tragedy. The writers, sensing the characters of the young black lawyer, kills him off before the end of the second season, even though he was a regular the audience had already invested a lot of emotion behind. Why kill him off? It made no dramatic sense. The character of Jake, a kind of loser lawyer in Nick's firm, is often the brunt of cruelty and why? Because his legal degree is from a lesser college. Suddenly after two seasons, Jack is revealed to be in a homosexual relationship which comes out of nowhere. There was nothing in the character that would indicate he was gay and when it does comes to light, all the viewer can do is say, "huh." Talk about not seeing that coming!

Similarly, Nick's relationship with Lulu is puzzling. Both of them seem incapable of finding emotional balance in the other unless they are snatching a quickie. Then they put on their clothing and we're back in why-are-they-behaving-like-that?-land. Neither one of them ever raise their voices and its frustrating to watch them NOT connect. I agree with another poster who who said they truly lack chemistry. The actress who plays Lulu, is awfully tight lipped.

Alvin, the head of the children's protection services agency, is played by Adam Rosenberg (who had a nice run on Cybil). Alvin is full of Jewish schtick, plus he's a recovered alcoholic. We are asked to believe this deeply flawed character lives for the protection of the kids the lawyers are asked to defend. Yet Alvin's behavior is nuts. He interferes in issues that are none of his business, such as reporting a colleague's violence towards his badly behaved nephew when he decides to discipline him in a boxing match. Frankly the kid need his ass kicked, and Alvin's interference costs the kid his life, and ultimately the life of the young lawyer whom he respects. It's a stupid story line.

What makes THE GUARDIAN WORK is Simon Baker as Nick Fallin. He's not a flashy actor, and he works in a kind of minimalist way. He speaks quietly, and draws the viewer into his dark world of hurt, disappointment, frustrated love, and stress, as well as his ability to be both a shark as a corporate lawyer and a compassionate and empathetic advocate for lost kids You want him to make peace with his father once and for all, the cost on him is emotional distance. Baker shows all this and a lot more. Nick's flaws and complications make for a fascinating anti-hero character. There's ambivalence in the way he can work both sides of the law. You don't dislike this guy because he can be both bad and good. I think Nick is looking for redemption, but temptation is always calling him to err.

Kathleen Chalfont is a semi-regular on the series and should be singled out for praise. She should be working non-stop. Always investing her lines with a believability, Ms. Chalfont compels attention.

Because Simon Baker is so good here, I'll have to start watching episodes of Baker's current series, THE MENTALIST. I found this whole series on Netflix. Worth checking out if you missed it when the show first ran.

Toast (2010) (TV)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing Movie Made from a Fine Memoir, 20 June 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think Nigel Slater is the best writer about food in the English language today, and have read many of his cookbooks as though they are novels. I enjoyed TOAST, his memoir growing up in the drab late 50s and early 60s that was post-war England. Slater, the only child in a marriage of a dying mother and a cold and remote father, just makes you wish for a happy ending. Mother can't cook a lick except for making toast and mince pies. The food subjected to middle-class English households is pretty grim. Once mum is firmly dispatched, father engages a house-keeper, played with delicious relish by the wonderful Helena Bonham- Carter. She's a bit coarse, and determined to snag young Nigel's father. She does so with her superb cooking skills. But Nigel's stepmother isn't quite the monster he would have you believe (nor do I recall her being written quite that way in the memoir). In TOAST young Nigel is a sullen and angry boy (yes, his father is a cold fish), but his life is dull, with bad food. He's not abused, or mistreated, or unloved. That is a typical family of that era. I could understand his resentment of his eventual stepmother, but he is stiff-backed and cruel to her and she is mostly agreeable, holding her ground against this low-wattage brat.

In the movie, Nigel decides to compete with her as a cook, and she's not having it. She pulls out all the stops and she trumps him, until his father dies. Then the older Nigel is off for his culinary career, vowing never to set eyes on his step-mother again.

Frankly, my sympathies were with the stepmother, and not Nigel, as this movie disappointingly droned on. There is much charm and lovely observation in the real Slater's memoir and I wish I had suck to that only.

A young Oscar Kennedy makes an impressive film debut as the younger Nigel with Freddie Highmore stuck trying to give the teenage Nigel some interest. Ken Stott is excellent, but ends up with one-note rage as Nigel's father. Victoria Hamilton imbues the role of the dying mother with a wistful sadness.

The film belongs to Helena Bonham Carter. Always a good actress, even when she fails (she got Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD nearly right, but ran off the rails for lack of a real voice to sing this tough part). In a career that is now over two-decades long, she's making an indelible impression in nearly every film she takes on these days, which is terrific. Someone has to fill the shoes of Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, and Carter is more than their rightful successor.

Though TOAST sports a good, game cast, it is let down by an ill-conceived approach to this story and a director who lacks a light and sensitive touch to pull it off.

Sunset (1988)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Is There a More Likable Leading Man than James Garner, 28 March 2012
8/10

I cannot remember a time since I was eight that James Garner hasn't completely won me over. His easy mix of handsome leading man charm, and skill as a movie actor has made him a favorite of mine for more than 45 years. Only Cary Grant can match that. Garner throughout his long and productive career has succeeded in doing what John Wayne could not--make consistently interesting films. The Americanization of Emily, Victor/Victoria (helmed by Blake Edwards and co-starring Julie Andrews), The Thrill of it All, The Great Escape, Murphy's Romance, are all movies I love and have watched over and over again. Few actors have as consistently good body of work as Garner. Even in weaker films, such as The Children's Hour or or Grand Prix, Garner manages to hold them together.

I don't know who came up with the inspired casting of Garner and Willis, but the results are just wonderful here. Wyatt Earp and Tom Mix solving a murder, romancing the ladies, using their brains and their charm to get them in and out of trouble can make for a very enjoyable movie. I was a huge fan of the first two seasons of Moonlighting and Willis must be given a huge amount of credit for the incredible chemistry he had with Cybill Shepherd. Willis has brought that charm to other roles such as Nobody's Fool and especially Bandits. That charm can turn to smirkiness that the critics so often jump on him about. His Tom Mix is one cool dude. Everyone's best friend, the guy you can always count on, Willis is adorable, rash and ready. He makes up his mind that Wyatt Earp is someone He can respect. He admires Earp's lived-in cool and he knows something is always going to happen around this legendary lawman. Willis even manages to pull off one outrageous western costume after another The hats are huge as mountain tops; the shirts are colorful, the chaps are as wide as Montana. It's a tribute to Willis' ability to sell the character of Tom Mix without being swamped by all the fabric he's hauling around. Garner's easy affability makes watching them a real pleasure.

Mariel Hemingway and Kathleen Quinlan as their girls are also well cast. The biggest problem is the casting of Malcom McDowell as the dark and sinister film producer Alfie Alperin. On the surface, this is a part that McDowell could have phone in--creepy, controlling, violent, and threatening. But McDowell seems bored right from the start. There's no spark or real inspiration for this bad boy and Jennifer Edwards as his lame sister is equally miscast. All the bad guys are real clichés here. The final showdown between Earp, Mix and their McDowell's now completely unbelievable villain goes on too long and you know every step of the way before the film reveals the heavy handed plot.

Henry Mancini's big western score is tuneful and memorable as any written by experts in the genre, and show off his huge versatility.

Up the final denouement Garner and Willis make you remember why buddy pictures can be so much fun. I happen to love Blake Edwards films--always have. The best are just really, really good. Most of SUNSET is very, very good.

Weekend (2011/II)
26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
At last, a movie about falling in love, is not cute romantic comedy, 30 December 2011

In reading several reviews posted about this outstanding film, I note several things:

*I'm sick to death of people complaining they cannot understand English people speaking English. Pay attention, they are completely understandable!

*This isn't a romantic comedy!

*If straight audiences are squeamish about a movie anyone can relate to--well tough!

A superior film about a sexual and then romantic period in two young men's lives, WEEKEND is a riveting and adult piece of filmmaking. Andrew Haigh's writing and direction is so well observed and detailed the viewer is left astounded at the simplicity of his vision and the skill of his masterly direction.

Tom Cullen and Chris New play Russell and Glen with utter conviction, all the more impressive in their love scenes, and in their moments of intimate touching because one of them is straight. This must have been nerve-wracking for both of them and yet they handle these scenes with restraint and with believable ardor.

I loved the scene where Russell is visiting his straight best friend and finally admits he is deeply shaken by Glen. His friend is perfectly happy and insistent to drive him to the railroad station.

The only scene that didn't completely work for me was their night of boozing and drugging. I just didn't see Russell indulging in cocaine and while I know some people think it makes the mind clear, but there are no real revelations during this long night. Reminded me of another long filmed sequence--that endless wedding reception in Rachel Getting Married. A real misstep.

The chemistry between Russell and Glen's characters goes a long way towards the film's excellence. There is nothing cute, or silly, or humiliating or just plain dumb between these two very likable men. The camera allows you to discover them and the movie is a real gem for it.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Terrific Family Drama with Three Outstanding Actors, 29 March 2010
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Meryl Streep has played lots of married women in her long and storied career. But none quite as radiant and loving as she does in this outstanding family drama. In fact, I wouldn't have thought this a part for Streep at all (this is Susan Sarandon territory). Streep is the total wife and mother to her English professor husband, and published author (William Hurt), and two adult children who have come home to celebrate their father's 55th birthday. I remember liking this movie a lot when it was first released in theaters. I found a copy of the DVD and bought it and last night watched it. I had an entirely different appreciation for Anna Quinlan's richly observed story of a family in crisis as the result of the mother's suffering from a harrowing illness. This is not a spoiler. You know the mother has cancer from the very first frame.

My recollection was that Streep was playing a tightly controlled Martha Stewart-type domestic perfectionist and of course, watching it the second time, I realized nothing could be further from the truth. At first you are lulled into thinking this might be the case. She throws a costume birthday party for her husband and seems ridiculous dressed as an aging Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, complete with ruby red slippers and a toy Toto. When her daughter, played by Renee Zelwegger is in the kitchen with her mother, she finds herself corrected constantly but only because her daughter has rejected her mother's domesticity and in the family home, she is a stranger in a strange land--inept and uninterested. The day after the party, we learn that Streep's character is being kept in the hospital for surgery, and suddenly Dad is insisting that his daughter take leave from her job as a reporter for New York Magazine, and stay home to take care of her ailing mother. Bristling with resentment, she obeys her beloved father's demands, but this sets up the stage for many shifting changes in the family dynamic.

Tellingly, the daughter says at upfront that she was never close to her mother, and was the perfect Daddy's little girl. She emulated her father to the point where she also became a writer, and looks to him for approval, which he is rather stingy with and often with backhanded criticisms. Meanwhile, the daughter takes on the chores of running the household while taking on the duties of ministering to her mother. She makes lunch for her mother's club, The Minnie's, a group of the town's women who do lots of beautifying and other civic chores. She arrogantly assumes, it's not big deal to cook, but can't cook a lick and the badly prepared meal lays on the plates, mostly untouched. But her mother's praise for her daughter's effort is genuine and laced with love. As Daddy's feet of clay become more brittle, the mother's non-judgmental behavior and warmth and appreciation for her daughter begins to open the younger woman's eyes to the reality of her parent's marriage. Daddy's probable infidelities, his vanity, his literary snobbishness and willingness to kiss ass of a visiting writer he idolizes, show him to be less of a hero in his daughter's eyes. Worse, she see that he does nothing in the house to help make his wife more comfortable, and he increasingly stays away as her condition deteriorates. The daughter's resentment builds to confrontation that leaves her confused and more angry.

There's a telling scene near the end of the movie when Streep confronts her daughter about her anger at her father. It is in this beautifully staged scene with Streep and Zelwegger playing superbly together, that the mother reveals to her daughter that she knows everything her daughter knows about her father. She has made her accommodations because that is what you do in a long marriage. She neither asks for her daughter's sympathy, or the audience's indulgence. She's not one of those embarrassed politician's wives who have been humiliated in public and then made to feel shame for sticking it out. She has created a loving home for her family. The mother in this film simply plays her part--as does her husband in this relationship. Streep is absolutely at her subtle best here, never never sacrificing the dignity of this dying woman. There could have been plenty of opportunity to go for the emotionally-charged big moment, but Streep refuses to ask us to feel sorry for her. She is totally in the moment of this character's situation and she's utterly fabulous. Zelwegger, an often outstanding screen actress who has become a bit mannered and fussy in her recent roles, shows how this character has matured through grief and anger, and as she begins to see just how great a mother she's always had, we share those revelations.

William Hurt doesn't flinch from this unlikeable character, and the final revelation is cathartic. He's never been my favorite actor, often taking on roles that are hard to like. But his work is rich in characterization and he never overplays or reaches for a cheap emotional payoff either. The role of the brother is not very detailed here, nor is Zellweger rather caddish boyfriend. It was nice to see the young Lauren Graham, playing Zellweger's best friend--her delightful Lorelai Gilmore persona in chrysalis.

In many ways, ONE TRUE THING is a throwback--an absorbing family drama full of words and emotions, a throwback to the era of the "woman's pictures" of the 30s and 40s. The three main characters never lose their focus. A very fine movie, well worth your time.

Junebug (2005)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Could Someone Explain Why This Movie is So Admired?, 6 March 2010
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw JUNEBUG for Amy Adams, a radiant actress who always adds dimension to every role she takes on. But I slogged through about 20 reviews here before I found one that matched my utter confusion about the success of this film. Previous reviews seem to be defensive about the lack of pace or telling the reader that not much happens in this film. And they would be right. And despite Amy Adams's fine performance, with excellent support from the rest of the cast, I'm baffled why so many like it. What the hell is wrong with baby brother? I want to know why he's such an angry young man. Daddy is walking around in a comma. Momma is in a bad mood all the time. As a previous poster said, we're left wondering why the older, so-called prodigal son would inflict his family on his new wife. He spends most of the movie trying to be the good son and be sexually attentive to his wife. I never know what he does for a living, and in fact it seems that his British wife, who owns a successful art gallery in Chicago, is controlling the purse strings here (not that it matters to the story). They are down south somewhere where the wife is pursuing an artist she would like represent.

I don't want to be admonished for having every i dotted or t crossed in a movie. I don't. But I want a modicum of character motivation. I'm really annoyed by the dumb southern slant in this film. The pace is glacial. Absolutely little happens and when it does, you're left wondering, what was that about?

Amy Adams character is the most fleshed out. A sweet and loving wife, she reveals she wants the guy she fell in love with in high school back. She cheerfully puts up with his moodiness when most of us would have thrown in the towel. Could it be this guy's problems are that he IS an idiot? I never felt an ounce of sympathy for him. The whole family tiptoes around his boorish behavior.

I get family dysfunction. I just don't get this particular depiction.


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