Rating: Wait for the Rental, if Not Longer –
Synopsis: A mom takes her pain-in-the-ass teenage age daughter to live with her grandmother. A place the mom never wanted to go back to because of the strict code of conduct that is expected of those who live with her. Maybe a pain-in-the-ass grandmother is just what the young woman needs to put her back on the straight and narrow.
Review: Georgia Rule is two movies mashed up into one. It attempts to be both a drama and a comedy. Yet, it does neither genre justice and leaves you wondering what might have been, if they had just chosen one or the other.
If you have seen the trailer or advertisements for this movie, you would think it is a multi-generational romantic dramedy that leans more to the comedy side of things. It looks like the story of a woman and her uncontrollable teenage daughter, one she takes to live with her grandmother in an attempt to give her some structure. The daughter finds a young man and mom reconnects with a past love. The three generations learn from each other and forgive each other for the past.
But, what you get is a hard drama about molestation, drinking and promiscuity with a few comic moments thrown in and the romance is nowhere to be found. When the young man declares his love for the granddaughter to the grandmother, all you can do is wonder why? They don’t spend much time developing this relationship. One row in a boat and the dude is in love.
When the bombshell of what may be a root cause of this young woman’s self-destructive behavior is dropped, you are like where did that come? From there on out, all attempts at humor are not very funny and seem wholly out of place. This movie is Rated-R for a reason.
Had they gone with a pure drama about a tortured teen and her drunk of a mother going to visit the stern grandmother, then this might have worked. Or, if they had gone the romantic comedy route, where the young man shows her love for who she is instead of how she looks or acts, then it might have worked. But, unlike chocolate and peanut butter, these two don’t go together.
The acting was very good all the way around. Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls) as the young out of control woman is very convincing. Felicity Huffman (TV’s Desperate Housewives) as the mother, at the end of her rope and a lush, is quite good. Jane Fonda (Monster-in-Law) plays the gruff old grandmother with all the rules with great spirit.
The main problem is with the direction. Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) attempts to pull the heartstrings and tickle the funny bone at the same time. Georgia Rule is a movie that never develops a good flow to it. Much in the same way as last week’s Spider-Man 3, it shifts from one scene to another with a lack of smoothness. There is an abruptness to the story being told. There are a couple of scenes that just serve no purpose, other than to get a rise out of the audience. Actually, he uses a couple of rises to accomplish this task. Neither of which, really drive the story forward. Multiple times in the movie, some in the audience gave out an, “Oh!” or loud gasp at what they were seeing. For me, all this in your face, shock content isn’t needed. It all took away from what could have been an outstanding drama or a funny romantic comedy.
All in all, you should wait for the rental, if not longer – New Movie Friday Rule.