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Georgia Rule (2007)

DVD Cover (Universal)
Genres:
Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film, Family Drama
Director:
Garry Marshall Garry Marshall
Starring:
Jane Fonda Jane Fonda
Lindsay Lohan Lindsay Lohan
Felicity Huffman Felicity Huffman
Dermot Mulroney Dermot Mulroney
Cary Elwes Cary Elwes

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 15, 2007
There are so many moments in "Georgia Rule" that make you remember what a great Garry Marshall film once felt like. Remember his glory days, back when "Overboard" was a comedic hit, "Beaches" brought a nation of both men and women to tears, "Pretty Woman" became the romantic comedy to end all romantic comedies and "Frankie and Johnny" just...well...wowed us? Those were the days when everything Marshall touched turned to gold. Then cam the drought. First came one of the worst films ever made, the horribly bad "Exit to Eden". Next came "Dear God", an odd, yet sometimes intriguing film that was just too scattered to matter. "The Other Sister" was a disaster, "Runaway Bride" tried to re-kindle the chemistry between Roberts and Gere in "Pretty Woman", but ended up just stinking. "The Princess Diaries" was a great success for Marshall, but that was all style over substance. "Raising Helen" flopped in a big way and that brings us to the ultimate mess that is "Georgia Rule", a film that could have been so much better. I don't think it's that Gary Marshall has lost his talent - he just needs to go back to what made him great and stop trying to tackle material that is not within his grasps. "Georgia Rule" is one of those films.

The film, essentially, tells the story of three generations of women. Rachel (Lindsay Lohan) is a sexed up, wild and reckless party girl who is sent by her mother Lilly (Felicity Huffman), a former alcoholic, to live with her grandmother Georgia (Jane Fonda) In Idaho because they don't really know what to do with her or how to handle her. Lilly has barely spoken to her mother in close to thirteen years and holds a lot of negative feelings towards her and really just wants to unload her baggage and go back to her life and lawyer husband, Arnold (Cary Elwes). Much of the early part of the film deals with Rachel adjusting to life in Idaho, being subjected to both a lack of interesting things to do and her grandmother's bizarre and sometimes erratic behavior. One day, trying to make a point to her employer, the local veterinarian Simon (Dermot Mulroney), Rachel tells him that her stepfather molested her as a child. Simon tells Georgia and Georgia tells Lilly and Lilly confronts Arnold and then all hell breaks loose. Did Arnold molest Rachel? Did he not? Lilly picks back up the bottle, Rachel continues to whore around and slut it up as much as possible, Simon stays as grumpy and gray-haired as possible and Georgia just makes everyone eat lots of soap.

First off, this film is totally misleading. It's R-rated. For a film like this, with a trailer like it had and the kind of premise is seemed to have, I am willing to bet a lot of underage daughters were taken to see this film by their mothers, only to have unexpected sex, language and sordidness crammed down their throats. I don't have a problem with any of that if it's well marketed, and honestly so. Just when you think the film is going to go down a lighthearted path, Lindsay Lohan either spreads her legs or tells another lie. Some of the scenes here are just uncomfortable, as when Rachel and a local boy are wrestling on the ground and she notices that he has an erection. Or, how about the scene where Rachel lets local hottie Harlan (Garrett Hedlund) violate her somewhat before she performs oral sex on her. These scenes are supposed to show how wild and reckless the Rachel character is, but they did not belong in this film. And how about when Jane Fonda spouts off a very well planned "Fuck you!" to her granddaughter, only to have the rest of the film support the idea that she would never ever say anything like that. One minute she is a psycho threatening to kill someone, and the next she is washing people's mouths out with soap. I didn't get it. If the film I am watching doesn't know what it is doing, how I am supposed to figure it out?

What makes all of this particularly sad is that "Georgia Rule" has moments where it really does work well. The performances were rock solid. Jane Fonda chose a far better role here than she did with her comeback vehicle, "Monster-In-Law". Fonda turns Georgia into a very likable person, when she's not changing attitudes like most people change socks. Felicity Huffman also turns in a fine performance as the erratic, sometimes alcoholic mother who is tired of her daughter, pissed at her mother and just wants to be left alone. Dermot Mulroney is quite effective in his supporting role as the local vet, Garrett Hedlund is plenty of eye candy, and the usually great Cary Elwes has some nice scenes as the scuzzball stepfather Arnold. Lohan, on the other hand, is a bit of an enigma. Sometimes, you can't tell if she's doing an amazing job or an awful job. Either her acting ability is just so natural, or it's non-existent. She has moments that are very watchable, but then she has others where you absolutely don't get all the fuss. Not to mention, she creates one of the least likable characters that I suppose we're supposed to root for; I didn't. I hated the character of Rachel. I thought she was just as bad, in many respects, as the man painted as the villain.

Basically - what is this film about? Is it about a daughter connecting with her mother? Is it about a young girl coming to terms with her own identity? Is it a film about child molestation and its affect years later? It can't be about all of that and work. However, it is and it doesn't. "Georgia Rule" could have been so much better with a few tweaks to the script, maybe a casting change for the lead and a director who could handle all of this weighty material. Sure, you're thinking - "Well, if he can do "Beaches", why not this?" Well, "Beaches" was a weepy drama about cancer. This takes you down roads you probably didn't expect to go. And I should give Garry Marshall a smack in the face for using a great actress like Laurie Metcalf for thirty seconds in a scene. She deserves far more than that. If you have someone like that, use them. The same could be said for Hector Elizondo. "Georgia Rule" is all over the map and it never pinpoints a location. There is a lot there to admire and to enjoy, but the rest is so vile and nasty that we forget all the good. At the very least, you get the occasional scene with Jane Fonda where you truly appreciate how great she is, and how sorely she was missed all those years. "Georgia Rule" does not rule - it just inhabits itself.

4/10.
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Optimus Prime #1: Optimus Prime - added 02/11/2009, 12:12 AM
My friend was watching this, I sat through it. Wasn't impressed, boring and I hate Lindsay Lohan. 3/10.
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