Poor Cary Elwes. Remember the days of The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Fast-forward to today with a dismal performance in Saw and now a very confusing choice in the new Garry Marshall film Georgia Rule. Starring party-girl Lindsey Lohan, Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman, this film is a strange mix of comedy and drama. While some movies are able to successfully pull this mix off, Georgia Rule just seems very confused with what it is trying to say. Perhaps this is because the drama elements in the story are way beyond the boundaries of what anyone would expect from a dramedy.
The movie begins by establishing the annoying mother-daughter relationship between Huffman and Lohan, who are on their way to see Felicity's controlling mother played by Jane Fonda (wow, what a new role for her). After deciding to find her own way into town while driving along a mountain road with her mother, Lohan miraculously meets the two most handsome guys in town, one her own age and one who is, well, none other than Dermot Mulroney. I would go on and describe the rest of the story, but it just is not worth your time or mine.
One thing that must be said is that while the film's first half hour or so runs along fairly smoothly as a comedy, the first drama element in the story hits you like a freight train. I was, along with everyone else in the audience, thinking where the hell did that come from? Without telling you what it is, I will just say that Lohan has a secret to tell. Unfortunately, instead of learning quickly whether the secret is the truth or a lie, we instead are faced with an onslaught for the next hour or so of scenes involving the line, “Okay Lindsey, you need to tell me the truth right now.” Please just tell us so we can all go home.
While the secret might be a juicy one, it just is blatantly out of place in this kind of film. The style of acting, the sets, the lighting all speak to a comedy, so much so that when we are given these moments of drama we don't know what to do with them. Am I supposed to feel genuinely upset or am I supposed to be in awkward waiting for the next laugh to come along?
What I did like about this film was the...um... okay, well I tried. Plainly said, this movie exemplifies mediocrity. The acting is not bad, but certainly not great, the comedic moments are only mildly amusing and in the end you really don't care too much what happens as long as it leads to the end credits. This film will not be remembered by year's end or even probably by month's end. This seems like a poor early summer film loaded with notable actors made solely to attract the viewers who aren't seeing the huge summer blockbusters. However, with such a contrived and unconvincing plot I see little appeal for anyone to see this film over the multitudes of other movies that don't have glaring identity issues (hey, that sounds like another Felicity Huffman film).
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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