‘Georgia Rule’ number one: Avoid bad movies
What a shock many Mothers must have felt this past weekend. Of the nearly $7 million box office that ‘Georgia Rule’ produced on its opening, many in the audience surely must have been daughters taking their Mom’s out to a movie for a Mother’s day weekend treat. With a cast that includes Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman and Lindsay Lohan and a rural Idaho setting ‘Rule’ looked like a multi-generational, small town heart warming chick flick. Oops.
What begins with rebel hottie Rachel (Lohan) being forced to live with her rigidly strict Grandma (Fonda) in little Hull, Idaho because her wealthy Mom (Huffman) has had it with Rachel, turns into a dramady that plays alcoholism and child abuse, yes child abuse, for laughs.
Despite the talented cast, Fonda can still bring it, Huffman breaths life into a caricature and Lohan, well, appears to be just playing her off screen tabloid persona, the script is stunningly bereft of authenticity, wit, or small town charm. And the Mormon sub-plot which is filled with clich ridden stereotypes is not even the most contemptible element of a film that already looks like a frontrunner for worst film of the year.
For those still interested, here is what you are in for. Rachel shows up in the little town wearing head turning clothes and immediately aims at deflowering a young rancher (Garrett Hedlund) hoping to serve an LDS mission. Georgia (Fonda) tries to give her granddaughter discipline –strict supper times and no Lord’s name in vain imperatives. Though there are brief flashes of her father’s iconic performance in the similarly scripted ‘On Golden Pond’ Fonda’s part is reduced to a spectator role. We learn that Rachel’s Mom Lilly (Huffman) has been estranged from Georgia for years and get this, blames her alcoholism primarily on her Mom’s inability to say the three magic words. Dr. Laura would have a heyday with such shallow victimization.
Perhaps Rachel’s belligerence can be explained and therefore excused because her father (Cary Elwes) molested her when she was 12-the veracity of which is batted around in the film’s risible attempt to garnish laughter through the tears.
Showing more signs that he can’t elevate lousy material, once respected director Garry Marshall (‘Pretty Woman,’ ‘Princess Diaries’) has added another canon to his growing list of films that despite big stars and an occasional breeze of depth, reek of misguided humor and ham-fisted emotional manipulation. (See ‘Raising Helen,’ ‘The Other Sister,’ ‘Exit to Eden.’).
‘Georgia Rule’ is the kind of film your parents tell you is the reason they don’t go to movies anymore. Mom knows best.
Rated R for sexual content and some language.