Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

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Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

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Article excerpt


Cert 12A, 130 mins CURTIS Hanson, who made the hardboiled LA Confidential, could hardly have changed gear more abruptly than with this film culled from Jennifer Weiner's proto-feminist bestseller. It's about two sisters, Cameron Diaz, a pretty but feckless party girl, the other, Toni Collette, a Princeton graduate at a top Philadelphia law firm, who travel a bumpy road towards mutual self-esteem.

During the overlong journey the unemployable party girl makes a mess of her plainer sister's pristine flat before seducing her boyfriend and moving off to Florida. There she discovers they have a grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) whom both thought was dead.

The feisty old granny, living in a luxurious care home with a lot of ogling old gentlemen, puts them both right in the end, but the gently traumatic emotional trip never seems wholly convincing.

While Diaz and Collette give nicely shaded performances, and MacLaine knows exactly what she is doing, there's a lack of real bite to the film. This is made worse by one of those irritating musical scores during which strings soar and a piano tinkles to provide a suitably sentimental backdrop. Perhaps a woman director would have made it sharper and more convincing than Hanson seems able.


Cert 15, 112 mins WHEN Peter Davis's Vietnam war documentary won its Oscar 30 years ago, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope dissociated themselves from it as an "anti-American" film. Shirley MacLaine, however, despite the fact that her own documentary about China was among the nominations, loudly sang its praises. Now it is more relevant than ever, since history has a nasty habit of seeming to repeat itself.

Davis has always denied that his film is an attack on the follies of American foreign policy. For him, it is about the effects of the war on the nations engaged in the conflict, which is why what is now happening in Iraq is constantly called to mind. …

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