Frankly, Molly is bad for everyone. Her careless irresponsibility is not only far-fetched and ludicrous, but it also makes her deeply unsympathetic, no matter how often the filmmakers play the orphan card. And they play it a lot. Murphy is not a bad actress, but Yakin seems to think she's the next Lucille Ball, traipsing her from one humiliation to the next pratfall without even a shred of logic (a collapsible closet in a multi-million dollar penthouse? a TV that works even though her electricity has been cut off?) It's just far too silly and corny to work on any level, and leaves us staring with disbelief at the screen. Fanning is excellent as usual, and she gets the film's only funny lines, but her character is never properly explored. While Molly must grow up, Ray is never allowed to be a little girl at all (being silly once is not childhood!). Then once the stupid physical humour has us completely annoyed the schmaltz kicks in with several Important Life Lessons slathered with weepy sentimentality. Murphy and Fanning, plus solid supporting actors like Faison, Locklear and Spencer, help make some scenes work, but the overall film is such a shocking misfire that you end up feeling sorry for them all.
dir Boaz Yakin|
scr Julia Dahl, Mo Ogrodnik, Lisa Davidowitz
with Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Jesse Spencer, Donald Faison, Heather Locklear, Marley Shelton, Pell James, Austin Pendleton, Marceline Hugot, Fisher Stevens, Mark McGrath, Dave Navarro
release US 15.Aug.03; UK 5.Mar.04
Going underground: Murphy and Fanning sulk.
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