**1/2 (out of 5)
May 11, 2007
Jane Fonda as GEORGIA
Lindsay Lohan as RACHEL
Felicity Huffman as LILY
Dermot Mulroney as SIMON
Cary Elwes as ARNOLD
Garrett Hedlund as HARLAN
Directed by: Garry Marshall
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
The Hollywood marketing machine is such a liar. And the people in charge of it have never quite realized that when they try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes, it only hurts themselves.
Take the poster for “Georgia Rule,” for example. If you knew nothing of this movie, you might think it would be a wildly hilarious, heartwarming story of three generations of strong-willed yet happy women in a family. The poster features three smiling faces – Felicity Huffman, Jane Fonda and Lindsay Lohan. Atop the image is the main tag line: From the director of “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries.”
Even the secondary tag line – “Mother. Daughter. Grandmother. In this family, attitude doesn’t skip a generation.” – hints to a fun-loving family film with attitude and some fun.
This couldn’t be more wrong.
“Georgia Rule” is a caustic, uncomfortable hodge-podge of family drama that is dysfunctional at its best and criminal at its worst. The characters would be better off on the set of “The Jerry Springer Show” than anchoring their own film.
The movie follows three generations of borderline psychotic women. Felicity Huffman plays Lily, an alcoholic version of Lynette from “Desperate Housewives,” a character that is desperately overexposed. Nothing against the lady, but if she’s not playing a pre-operative transsexual, I’m bored with her.
Lindsay Lohan plays Lily’s daughter Rachel, a troubled child that rebels like crazy, runs away from home and gets hammered on booze and drugs. While some have criticized Lohan for her wild off-the-set behavior which landed her in rehab earlier this year, I applaud her use of research to truly delve into her character. This is a feat of method acting we haven’t seen since Robert Downey Jr. played a doped-up drug addict in “A Scanner Darkly.”
Over the summer of her 17th year, Rachel is shipped off to Idaho (an appropriately named state for the girl) to live with her grandmother Georgia (Jane Fonda). While Georgia has plenty of rules (hence the oh-so-clever title), which include no swearing, drinking or blasphemy, she’s got her own set of problems. This is evidenced by the fact that everyone in her family hates her.
The three women try to suffer through the summer, fighting their own demons and uncovering hideous skeletons in their closets. Think of it as “Terms of Endearment” without the cancer. If you like these sort of mother-daughter angst movies, this is right up your alley. Otherwise, your only comfort can be that Lindsay Lohan parades around in clingy outfits throughout much of the film.
Garry Marshall has had a few misses in recent years to go along with his hits. For every “Princess Diaries” or “Pretty Woman,” you can find something like “Raising Helen.” And to compare this film to his classic movies is a disservice to the audience. “Georgia Rule” is about as un-Princess as you can get.
Don’t take your daughters who are huge fans of Anne Hathaway’s rags-to-riches story. Instead of G-rated Disney fun, you’ll get nasty verbal jabs and an unwelcome subplot revolving around molestation and rape. This even makes the R-rated “Pretty Woman” look like it deals with wholesome issues – and that movie was about a hooker.