Archive for the Chick Flicks Category

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Five years after the first film, Crown Princess of Genovia Amelia “Mia” Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) has just graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and is returning to Genovia with her bodyguard Joe (Héctor Elizondo). There, she will await her reign once her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), steps down as Queen. During Mia’s 21st birthday party, she dances with all the eligible bachelors in hope of finding a husband. She becomes attracted to a handsome gentleman named Nicholas (Chris Pine). During the course of the night, Mia’s tiara falls off and is caught by a Member of Parliament, Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) who secretly plans to steal Mia’s crown. While the Parliament is in-session the next morning, Mia stumbles upon a hidden room that allows her to secretly listen in. Viscount Mabrey reveals his nephew, Lord Devereaux, is another heir to the Genovian throne. Despite Queen Clarisse’s objection, the only way Mia can assume her duties as Queen is if she marries within the month. Clarisse invites Lord Devereaux to stay at the palace, while Mia is shocked to discover Lord Devereaux is Nicholas. Mia’s best friend Lilly Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) surprises her by visiting. Together, they pick through potential husbands. Mia eventually chooses Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue), Duke of Kenilworth and days later they are engaged. Mabrey plans to have Nicholas woo Mia and dissolve the engagement.

For a ceremony, Mia is to ride sidesaddle but does not know how. Queen Clarisse provides an ancestral wooden leg decoy to make it look like she’s riding sidesaddle. Mabrey spooks Mia’s horse with a rubber snake and Joe rushes to Mia’s aide, but accidentally tears off the wooden leg. Humiliated, Mia flees to the stables, where Nicholas fails to comfort her. At a garden party, Mia and Nicholas quarrel about Mia’s relationship with Andrew; Nicholas tricks Mia into admitting she doesn’t love him. Angered, she argues but instead gets bombarded by a kiss. At first, she kisses him back but then backs away. Nicholas pursues her even more, which causes both of them to fall into a fountain. Queen Clarisse finally tells Mia that her behavior with Nicholas needs to stop.

During the Genovian Independence Day parade, Mia sees some boys picking on a little girl (Abigail Breslin), and abruptly halts the parade to comfort the girl. Learning the children are orphans, Mia has a vendor give them all tiaras and lets them walk with her in the parade. Everyone is impressed by her act of generosity, while Mabrey sees it as a political maneuver. Mia later decides to convert one of the royal palaces into a temporary children’s center. That night, Mia has her bachelorette/sleepover party, where Queen Clarisse surfs on a mattress and sings a duet with Princess Asana (Raven-Symoné), one of Mia’s good friends. In the meantime, Mabrey realizes Nicholas has fallen for Mia, but Nicholas says that Mia will never love him. Nicholas comes upon Mia as she is practicing her archery as part of her coronation rites. He helps her succeed in getting the arrow to hit the bullseye, something she had been struggling with. Nicholas then informs Mia that he is leaving, but asks to see her just one more time before he goes. She declines, saying she is under close guard.

That night, Nicholas appears outside Mia’s window and asks her to come out. Lilly encourages her to go, and Mia sneaks out. They ride out to a lake where they share secrets, dance and eventually fall asleep. They awaken to find a man in a boat videotaping them. Mia thinks Nicholas set her up, while he insists he had no idea. By the time Mia gets back to the palace, the scandalous footage is already being broadcast. Andrew is disappointed and kisses Mia to see if there is a romantic spark between them. They realize they do not love each other, but do not call off the wedding for the good of Genovia. The wedding is to take place the following day, and Mia’s mother Helen (Caroline Goodall) comes with her new husband Patrick (Sean O’Bryan) and their newborn son Trevor. Nicholas decides against attending, but his surly housekeeper Gretchen informs him that Mabrey engineered their televised scandal.

Right before the wedding, Joe informs Mia that Nicholas is innocent. Queen Clarisse encourages Mia to follow her heart, something she has never done and has now cost her Joe, the only man she truly loved. Mia reenters the church, and after pointing out how her grandmother has ruled Genovia while unmarried for a number of years, she tells the members of parliament in the audience to consider the significant women in their lives (such as their wives, sisters, daughters and nieces) and questions if they would have them do what they’re trying to force her to do (marrying people they don’t love). Mabrey cites the law again and once again suggests that his nephew be named King, but just then, Nicholas not only refuses the crown, but also disowns Mabrey as his uncle. Mia proposes the law on royal marriages be abolished, and the Parliament unanimously gives its assent. Encouraged by Mia to have her own happy ending, Clarisse proposes to Joe and they are promptly married.

About a week later, Mia is preparing for her coronation when Nicholas shows up. He professes his love for Mia on bended knees, and they share a romantic kiss. The next day, Mia is crowned “Her Majesty Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Queen of Genovia”, with all in attendance in the royal palace.

An epilogue shows that Genovian Parliament now allows female members, one of whom is Charlotte. And Queen Mia officially opens the children’s home

REVIEW:

Sometimes when the end credits roll on a film you wonder if you will ever see the characters again and what will they be up to the next time we see them, should we be privileged enough to see them again. This was the case with The Princess Diaries. The film ended in a way that left the audience wondering what happens next. Enter The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, a film that I swear I was not meant to see (up until tonight, I have never been able to watch it straight through for various reasons). With all that aside, let’s see if this film is comparable to its predecessor.

What is this about?

Directed by Garry Marshall, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement picks up where its predecessor left off — that is, with American teenager Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) reeling over the news that she is a princess within the royal family of Genovia, a little-known European nation with a population of barely 50,000. As promised, Mia, along with her best friend, Lilly (Heather Matarazzo), travels to Genovia after their high-school graduation. The unlikely princess has hardly settled into the castle, let alone begun representing the country, when she learns that a larger title is approaching more rapidly than expected; it seems as though Mia will have to take over as queen. Suddenly, in addition to further schooling on the etiquette of royalty, Mia finds herself with a daunting prospect — according to Genovian law, all princesses must be married before they can be crowned.

What did I like?

One more once. Not too long before the first film was made, Julie Andrews underwent surgery on her throat/vocal chords. The operation was a success, but she was no longer allowed to sing. I’m not sure what happened, but we get a song from her during the slumber party, albeit nowhere near as strong a vocal performance as we expect from her. Still, it is great to hear her sing a few notes.

In her skin. In this second time out, Anne Hathaway, as Princess Mia, seems much more confident both as an actress and the character as a royal. Can you imagine what this would have been like if she was still bumbling around like she was when we first met her? Granted, she does still have those moments that remind us that while she is the would be queen, the clumsy prep school girl is still in there somewhere.

Grandmother. Julie Andrews’ character is on her way out of the royal spotlight and off the throne as Mia takes her rightful place as ruler of Genovia. It is because of this that I think she is able to not be such a “stick in the mud” and be more of a grandmother towards her granddaughter. We get a few scenes where she is chewing her out, of course, but for the most part, she is the dream grandmother we all wish we had. She had poise, class, elegance, compassion…not to mention she’s Julie Freakin’ Andrews!!!

What didn’t I like?

Nevermore. Aside from her best friend, Lily, who was flown in from California (and felt a bit forced into the film), Mia seems to be close to Princess Asana. There are two glaring issues I want to bring up with this. First, if they are so close, why is Asana only in a couple of scenes? Second, who is she? How did they meet? Why are they so close? Mia grew up with Lily and they were both outsider freaks in high school, so we know that’s why they were so close, but with Asana, we get none of that. She’s just a random character that gets to sing with Julie Andrews.

Formula 1. Is it me or with every film, book, or tv show that involves a royal change of power of sorts, we get someone who wants to prove they are next in line. This is such a cliché’ nowadays. One could tell what was going to happen before it actually does, just by the film’s title and the type of film this is. Come on filmmakers, be creative!

Lionel. Joe, who is retiring when the Queen leaves the throne, is sacked with an intern in his last days. What I found odd about this guy was how he reminded me of Michael from the first film, but with darker skin and slightly shorter hair. This got me thinking…with the way Mia fawned over Michael in the first film, wouldn’t it have been a cool idea for him to show up as Lionel in disguise and be her dream ending? Of course, then Chris Pine’s whole character in this film would be worthless, but he goes on too much bigger and better things after this, so he’ll be fine.

Final verdict on The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement? Let’s see…it repeats some of the same notes from the first film. The soundtrack isn’t as catchy this go-round. Chemistry among the characters is so-so, but I actually believed it in the archery scene with Hathaway and Pine. The mattress surfing scene was perhaps the most fun part of the film. Do I recommend this? Yes, a good (non animated) family film is hard to find. While not great, it is somewhat entertaining and that’s worth something. However, I would suggest going for the first film, if you can.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Thirteen-year-old Lizzie McGuire and her pals Gordo, Kate and Ethan all pack their bags and plan to live la dolce vita while on a class trip to Italy. Once there, Lizzie is mistaken for pop star Isabella and begins to falls for Paolo, Isabella’s handsome, Italian pop star former boyfriend. When Lizzie’s mom, dad and annoying brother Matt get wind of this, they all jet their way to the boot country. In the meantime, Lizzie is transformed from a gawky teen to a beautiful pop star, Gordo struggles to understand his true feelings for her, and a whirlwind of surprising events force Lizzie to find the true meaning of friendship.

What people are saying:

“As driving-around-in-the-car-with-the-top-down, putting-on-your-lip-gloss, loving-life moviemaking, it’s all good.” 3 stars

“I’m sure every Lizzie McGuire fan will enjoy this movie. It’s just practically a Disney Channel Original Movie on the big screen. Parents, you’ll be bored. I also can’t handle Hilary Duff’s painfully unbearable auto-tuned musical performance at the end.” 2 stars

“A light movie to view to raise your spirits. Cute, sweet, and predictable, but in a bearable way. Nothing to remember, maybe not a classic, but nice for a quick watch with friends when boredom strikes.” 3 stars

“Cute, sweet, funny and watchable. We were never big fans of the series but the movie does satisfy. Though tween girls are the film’s demographic, it has humor for guys and adults. Good family film. ” 3 stars

“Let’s face it: Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff) is just too darn polished to be a junior-high underdog, even by the standards of her ‘luxe suburban environs’. But that hasn’t tarnished her comeback-kid cred among the six-and-ups who faithfully follow her Disney Channel show—and it doesn’t make The Lizzie McGuire Movie, a clever, agreeably weightless theatrical outing, any less enjoyable” 3 1/2 stars

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this screwball sequel to the 2002 hit romantic comedy, there’s a new wedding on the horizon for the wacky Portokalos clan — and with it comes a new assortment of family crises and secrets.

What people are saying:

“A sequel as funny as the original. You’ll laugh out loud many times. The cast is all back and better than ever. Kudos to director Jones for a great effort. Vardalos is terrific but Lainie Kazan steals every scene she’s in. This is fun entertainment.” 5 stars

“Sequel to the popular hit comedy from the 90’s. The spark is not there anymore although the same characters are back this is inferior in every way” 2 stars

“Sweet-natured sequel gets the old gang together to answer questions nobody asked. Worth a rental, though, for old times’ sake.” 3 stars

“Sometimes no matter how much you want something you shouldn’t get it. This sequel is one shining example of that. The first movie was so funny and unexpected that a sequel, no matter how many years later, could never bring back the same joy.” 2 stars

“This was a pleasant enough film with a few mild chuckles, but if the Greeks invented comedy, there’s little evidence here. There seems to be a reason the Greek masters didn’t write sequels frequently.” 2 1/2 stars

The Holiday

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Stuck in a vicious cycle of dead-end relationships with two-timing men, Los Angeles resident Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Londoner Iris (Kate Winslet) decide to swap homes. In the process, their trade paves the way for romances they never imagined possible.

What people are saying:

“Loved this film. Typical romantic comedy but got to see all the old guys- which is always special. Eli Wallach and Shelley Berman! What more could you ask for?” 5 stars

“There’s nothing authentic or personal about The Holiday — it’s as chilling as heart-warmers get.” 2 stars

“Watching Kate’s character hopelessly follow an obviously broken relationship was heartbreaking… But seeing her find love in an unexpected, yet genuine man gave me hope.” 4 stars

“Not too bad but a bit long. Sorry but Jack Black just doesn’t cut it as a serious actor in this one. Combination of poor dialogue and bad facial expressions by his character didn’t help. ” 3 stars

“I adore this movie and have watched it many times. The four leads, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law all play their parts perfectly. Yes, it is somewhat of a fantasy, but after all it is a romantic comedy. It has plenty of laughs but enough tears to hold the viewer’s attention. It is definitely a “chick flick,” so husbands and boyfriends hold your breath and endure. You will have the everlasting gratitude of your significant other.” 5 stars

Sixteen Candles

Posted in Chick Flicks, Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Samantha’s sixteenth birthday should be memorable, but her family is so preoccupied with her older sister’s wedding that they completely forget her big day. Meanwhile, Sam tries to catch her crush’s eye.

What people are saying:

“A 80s John Hughes written film, so you know it’s hella solid in the dialogue category. Being the 1st film he directed, I thought it was great being John Hughes 1st. Their are some small side gags that would of been better left out of the movie entirely. Overall didn’t hurt the movie too much. It’s a fun, very enjoyable, and funny movie.” 3 1/2 stars

“I had seen most of the 80s Teen Flicks, but somehow never got around to this one. Probably an anti-Molly thing. Ah, foolish youth. The fact is, this is one truly funny film! Typical John Hughes stuff, funnier than The Breakfast Club, but with less meat to it. As far as the rating, I’m surprised it received a PG — the language and brief nudity would probably rate an R today. But if you can get past that issue, you’ll have a lot of fun with 16 Candles.” 4 stars

“A simple story and a well chosen cast, particularly Ringwald, prevent Sixteen Candles from being melodramatic and paces itself with plenty of humor and complexity that only a teenager can understand. Watching this film as an adult will diminish any emotional impact.” 5 stars

“Molly Ringwald has her 16th birthday but her family is so preoccupied with her older sister’s wedding that they completely forget her big day. She has a crush on the jock, but a nerd has a crush on her. She must find a way to enjoy her birthday, despite the dance where things don’t go quite as planned. A pretty typical 80’s comedy especially with John Hughes. Pretty good and pretty much typical of the 80s.” 3 stars

“John Hughes got everything right with this cute and funny comedy that defined the 80s… I have probably seen this movie 20 times and laugh at the same scenes. Molly Ringwald, who’s been in several JH films, pays a love-sick teenager whose parents forget her 16th birthday. This movie also has created alot of funny one-liners my sisters and me still use- ‘oh and they’re sooo perky!” Super funny from the great beginning all of the way to the end. And I miss John Hughes terribly, no one understood the American teenager like this guy. A little dated with the 80s clothing and hairstyles but this movie still holds its own and will make any teenager laugh today.” 5 stars

Ghost

Posted in Chick Flicks, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze), a banker, and Molly Jensen (Demi Moore), a potter, are a couple who renovate and move into an apartment in New York City with the help of Sam’s friend and co-worker Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn). One afternoon, Sam discovers unusually high balances in obscure bank accounts, but despite Carl’s offer to help investigate, Sam decides to investigate on his own. That night while walking home together Sam and Molly are mugged by a street thug who pulls a gun and demand’s Sam’s wallet. Sam struggles with the attacker and is shot. After pursuing the street thug, Sam runs back to Molly and – seeing her crying over his dead body – discovers that he has died from the gunshot and has become a ghost. Sam stays by the distraught Molly, trying to come to grips with his new condition, when Carl comes over and suggests Molly take a walk with him. Sam cannot bring himself to follow.

Moments later, the mugger enters the empty apartment and commences searching for something. When Molly returns, Sam scares their cat into attacking the thug, who flees. Sam follows the mugger to his apartment in Brooklyn and learns that the man’s name is Willie Lopez and that Willie intends to return later to continue the search.

While walking back to the apartment, Sam happens upon the parlor of Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a con artist posing as a medium. But when she can hear Sam, she realizes she has an actual gift. He convinces her of the danger that Molly is in and that Oda must warn her. Molly is skeptical about Oda until Oda relays information that only Sam could know.

After Molly tells Carl about Oda Mae, Carl – unaware that Sam is following – then goes to Willie’s apartment. There, to Sam’s surprise, he finds that Carl and Willie are working together, that Carl had a hand in Sam’s death, and that he had needed to obtain Sam’s book of passwords in order to access and launder the excess money from the bank accounts. Under instructions relayed from Sam to Oda Mae, Molly goes to the police with Willie’s name and address, but they find no criminal record of him – instead they show her Oda Mae’s record and convince her that she’s a con artist.

Meeting a violent poltergeist in their ghostly realm, Sam learns from him how to manipulate physical objects from within the spirit realm. Sam then approaches Oda Mae and asks her not only to withdraw the money in the fake name that Carl had set up but then to give that $4 million to charity. Sam tries to scare Carl away from Molly but she reveals to Carl that Oda Mae was at the bank withdrawing the money. Sam then prevents Oda Mae from being attacked by Willie, terrorizing the thug and then sending him into oncoming traffic where Willie is hit by a car and killed. As Willie’s ghost is grabbed by creatures from the shadows that drag him to Hell, Sam and Oda Mae return to the apartment where – by levitating a penny into Molly’s hand – he convinces Molly that Oda Mae is telling the truth about him.

Oda Mae allows Sam to possess her body so he and Molly can share a slow dance, but Carl interrupts them and Molly and Oda Mae flee onto the fire escape. Carl chases the women to a loft under construction and catches Oda Mae. When Molly comes to save her, she is grabbed and held hostage. Sam disarms Carl and chases him toward a window. He throws a suspended hook at Sam; it misses, swings back, and shatters the glass. As Carl tries to climb through the window a sharp shard of broken glass falls, impaling him through the chest. Carl’s ghost rises from his body and, as Willie had been, he is grabbed by the creatures from the shadows and is carried to Hell.

Sam asks if the women are all right. Miraculously, Molly can now hear him. A heavenly light shines in the room, illuminating Sam in sight of both of them. Realizing that it is his time to go, he and Molly share tearful goodbyes. Oda Mae tells him that he is being called home, and he thanks her for her help.

Sam then walks into the light and onward to Heaven.

REVIEW:

Considered one the quintessential romantic films of all time, Ghost is a film that I just have not seen all the way through, up to this point in time. Will I be impressed or lose respect for the parts of the film that I have seen of this flick? Only one way to find out!

What is this about?

Gothamites Sam and Molly see their romance shattered when a street thug kills Sam during a mugging. But love endures beyond the grave when a spectral Sam learns that Molly is in danger, and he must find a way to warn her before she suffers his fate.

What did I like?

True love. So many times, we see couples on film that seem as if they have never laid eyes on each other before the cameras started rolling. They have little to no chemistry at all. Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, however, seem to have been in love since the dawn of time. Their romance is red hot on the screen. I don’t know if anything went on with these two off camera, but on camera they shared a love for the ages.

Supernatural. No, this isn’t your typical ghost film, so there isn’t a whole lot of lore to be seen and heard here. That being said, what we do get is pretty special, especially for a chick flick drama! Seeing Swayze wander around trying to communicate with the living was something I enjoyed and it kept my interest more than the embezzling money plot did.

Tone. In today’s cinematic world, this would be a dark and “scary” film, probably meant to be part of some shared universe, because studios think that’s the only way to make money. While this is most definitely a product of the early 90s, the tone cannot be more perfect. The drama and love story are offset by the light-hearted ghost scenes and Whoopi Goldberg’s comic relief, and that is offset by the overarching murder/money plot. Everything compliments each other and it works like a grand symphony!

What didn’t I like?

Drag me to hell. I wasn’t expecting anything on the level of Ghostbusters when it comes to the special effects of this film, but the look of the recently deceased going up or down did nothing for me. I say this more for those that were going down. The demons, if that’s what they were, looked more like cartoon shadows instead of something that was meant to incite fear. Again, given the nature of the film, this is understandable to a point, but surely they could have shelled out a few more $$$ to get something more frightening and evil looking for the bad guy, for lack of a better term.

BFF. Heaven forbid I pass away and my significant other is left alone. Should this happen, I suppose I can take solace in the fact that my bff is a married woman, rather than a slimey, good for nothing, backstabber. Swayze’s best friend is obviously doing his best to keep her Demi Moore from falling into a sever bout of depression or something along those lines, but hitting on her? I think this happened not even a week after the funeral! WTF?!?

Other ghosts. As we see in Whoopi’s..um…place of business? and on the subway, there are other ghosts running around. Here’s my questions about them, though. Do they not see the new guy? Are they just hiding? Why are they here? Maybe I’m asking too many questions for a simple film such as this, but it does make one wonder, regardless.

Final verdict on Ghost? I liked it and can see why it is held is such high regard, but I didn’t love it. For me, it was bit too much on the sappy side and pretty much blew its load with the pottery scene very early in the film. All that aside, I belive this to be a well made picture. Most of the characters are well thought out and their motivations are made clear. I wish something could be done with the antagonist plot, though. Do I recommend it? Sure, why not, this is one of those date movies that women love to force their men to watch, so suck it up gentlemen and enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars

The Other Sister

Posted in Chick Flicks, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on March 9, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After receiving a well-earned certification from a sheltered boarding school, Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis), an ambitious and mildly mentally challenged young woman, returns home to her over-protective and slightly snobby mother Elizabeth (Diane Keaton). Elizabeth seems to act as if she is embarrassed about her daughter’s disability. During family discussions, Elizabeth adopts an uneasy attitude. Her father Radley (Tom Skerritt) is a dentist and recovering alcoholic. Carla’s ambition is to seek more independence from her family by earning a diploma from a trade school. When Carla meets another mentally challenged student, Daniel McMann (Giovanni Ribisi), they become friends and soon fall in love. Envying Danny’s freedom, Carla convinces her parents she is capable of living on her own and moves into her own apartment. After a time, Carla and Danny become sexually active together.

Danny’s independence is financially compromised when his wealthy and emotionally detached father abruptly stops sending subsistence money. Danny begins to realize that the independence he enjoyed comes with a staggering cost. Danny gets drunk, then seeks solace and insight (and a joyride in a vintage Ford Mustang convertible) from his landlord and friend, Ernie (Hector Elizondo).

During a Christmas party at the country club, nervous about his personal lot, Daniel drinks too much to build up his courage to declare his love for Carla, also telling everyone about their first time making love. A humiliated Carla bursts into tears, screaming at everyone to stop laughing at her. Although Daniel did not intend to embarrass Carla, she nonetheless refuses to see him. Over time, Carla realizes she still loves Danny and wants to see him again despite her mother’s advising her otherwise. At her sister Caroline’s (Poppy Montgomery) wedding, Danny surprises Carla by showing up at the church and asking Carla to marry him, in a scene mimicking The Graduate, the couple’s favorite film.

Everyone supports their wishes except Elizabeth, who is unsure Danny can take care of himself, let alone Carla, who becomes angry, telling her mother she is sick of her dominance and doubt and is also sick of her treating her like an embarrassment. Radley and her sisters Heather (Sarah Paulson) and Caroline support her decision, and the wedding is planned. At first, Elizabeth is determined not to attend; but Radley admonishes her, saying he will walk Carla down the aisle, and finally she relents. Outside the church, Danny surprises Carla with a marching band playing a song from The Music Man… and they are chauffeured away to their honeymoon in Ernie’s prized Mustang.

REVIEW:

As my college days were coming to a close, I met a girl who loved The Other Sister. To this day, I am still on the fence about this film. There are times that I like it and find it a cute little love story, but then there are days when it is just too much for me. What will today bring, I wonder? Let’s find out, shall we?

What is this about?

Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis) has an independent streak a mile wide. Trouble is, she’s mentally handicapped, and her overprotective parents (Diane Keaton and Tom Skerritt) have misgivings about her getting her own apartment and pursuing a relationship with another mentally challenged person (Giovanni Ribisi). An emotional tour de force for Lewis, The Other Sister is ultimately a triumphant story of perseverance in the face of long odds.

What did I like?

Challenge. When was the last time we saw a character that is mentally challenged carry a film? The last one that I can remember is Blankman, which really wasn’t that great. The filmmakers took a chance with this, and it paid off. Not only do these actors, Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi, come off as believable in their roles, they do so with respect to those with challenges. Kudos to them and their hard work in researching the parts for accuracy.

Give love a chance. Love can be a complicated thing, don’t you think? One thing is for certain, though, everyone deserves a chance to fall in love. Whether you’re an interracial couple living in some backwood town in the south where they won’t let you marry, a gay couple who seem to be treated like second class citizens, if not worse, by government and maybe even their own family and “friends” or, in the case of this film, a couple of sweet individuals whose only crime is being a little different from everyone else. This is not the kind of love story we normally see, and perhaps that is why it is so captivating. We are drawn in as a result of its novelty, as it were, only to become attached to these characters as they struggle for acceptance and deal with normal day to day relationship issues.

Music, man. The Music Man is one of my favorite musicals. Being a band geek for my whole life, marching band music is a genre that I am very familiar with. Who would have thought that  Ribisi’s character in some ways would be a reflection of myself. I think he may love the marching tunes a bit more than me, though. I applaud the choice to include such music in the film. Not many people get, or take, the chance to listen to it anymore, plus it was done very tastefully and not shoved down the audience’s throat.

What didn’t I like?

Mommy, dearest. This is not the kind of film that has an antagonist, but if there was one it would most definitely be Diane Keaton’s character. She is the kind of overbearing, control everything about your life mother that we all dread. A few tweaks to her persona and she could have rivaled the mom in Mommie Dearest. Ok, maybe not that much, but for the tone of this film, her villainous, for lack of a better term, persona didn’t seem to fit. She is the kind of character that needs to be developed over the course of a film, and I’m not really sure she was.

Sister issue. Keeping in mind that this was made in the previous century, I shouldn’t get too bent out of shape about this, but Sarah Paulson’s character keeps hinting that she is in a relationship with another woman. We see her in bed with this girl in a scene where she is talking to Lewis’ character. What’s the problem? They bring this up and how her parents won’t let her bring her beloved to the wedding, but that’s as far as they go with it. For me, if you’re going to bring that up, go somewhere with it. The same could be said for the little temper tantrum Poppy Montgomery had about being the middle sister. To me, that seemed like there was an issue there, as well.

Money and grades. Poor Daniel, he fails a test (or maybe it was a class) and his obviously rich father cuts him off and tells him he needs to go live with his mother. Typical plot device for a film like this, right? I realize that money is a big issue, but I believe they could have come up with something better. Sometimes less is more. Just use the grades as a punishment. I don’t know, maybe I’m just overreacting to this.

Final verdict on The Other Sister? This is a genuinely cute film that could have gone a variety of different directions, given the material. The filmmakers chose to use mentally challenged individuals as the leads, but their disability is not the focal point, their love and connection is. That is why this film works. Do I recommend it? Yes, if you’re in the mood for a cutesy flick to watch with your significant other, this is one to check out!

4 out of 5 stars