COLUMBIA PICTURES (2000)
Director: Betty Thomas
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West, Elizabeth Perkins, Diane Ladd, Steve Buscemi, Alan Tudyk
Gwen Cummings (Bullock) has a serious problem, although to her, it's just some fun. To everyone else, it's alcohol - and lots of it.
The movie introduces us to Gwen and her boyfriend Jasper (West) as they party and drink the night away. After waking up in a drunken haze, Gwen realizes she is late for her sister Lily's (Perkins) wedding, and, as per, Gwen turns to drinking to cope. What follows is a story about confronting your mistakes and realizing that they will stay with you, but it also shows that redemption is possible for anyone who truly wants it.
The story warns about the dangers of addiction, but the film itself becomes indulgent. Sandra Bullock delivers a solid performance as a woman struggling with addiction, relationships and her life. Her interactions with other characters feel organic and not forced, providing a solid platform for the supporting cast, and the ensemble of patients is a refreshing change from the norm - Alan Tudyk being the highlight. However, Elizabeth Perkins' performance as the mature big sister falls short, lacking any real emotional depth and chemistry with Bullock. Additionally, Andrea's weak character lets down the pivotal part she plays in the movie and Azura Skye's performance is also weak, despite the potential of her storyline.
Bullock and Mortensen have good scenes together, particularly the pitching scene. and the contrast of Mortensen's lower-key demeanour and Bullock's charismatic nature complement one another nicely. Dependable performances from dependable actors and Buscemi's sober performance adds a touch of gravitas to the overall piece.
The comedic elements are too much for this to be considered a simple drama. At times, the drama works, but the intentions generally fall flat, though the comedic moments hit more often than not. They were more successful than the mixed soundtrack that chugged along without really adding an awful lot.
In summary, the story provides enough drama, laughs, and emotions to be just above average. Although the movie provides a soft look at a hard subject, and sometimes preaches too much, it returns an entertaining enough watch and good performances by a solid cast.
August 10th 2016