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dir-scr Katherine Dieckmann
prd Rachel Cohen, Jana Edelbaum, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon, John Wells
with Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards, Minnie Driver, Clea Lewis, Arjun Gupta, Daisy Tahan, David Schallipp, Matthew Schallipp, Alice Drummond, Samantha Bee, Javier Picayo, Stephanie Szostak
release 23.Oct.09, UK 5.Mar.10
Party mania: Thurman
SUNDANCE FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This enjoyable but simplistic comedy feels more like a mother's tired rant than an ode to motherhood. Fortunately it stars the extremely likeable Thurman, which helps get us through the sticky, trite moments.
Eliza Welsh (Thurman) has a crazy-busy life in Greenwich Village, trying to plan a sixth birthday party for her daughter (Tahan) while caring for her young son (Schallipp and Schallipp) and her rather scatterbrained husband (Edwards). She used to write books, but now she's struggling to find time to update her blog on motherhood. And the constant interruptions of life are also making it difficult to compose an essay to enter a competition for a regular writing job.
Despite being a wistful and cute slice of everyday life, the film has a rather annoying whiff of self-importance: that "nobody ever talks about what it's really like to be a mother". Except that every writer and filmmaker who becomes a mother does exactly that. What emerges is a sort of mommy-time variation on the Sex and the City formula as Eliza races around town getting into all manner of slapsticky chaos, meeting her sassy friends (Driver and Lewis), bickering with people in shops and flirting with a delivery boy (Gupta). She even has a run-in with celebrity mum Jodie Foster.
The problem is that there isn't really an original or telling moment in here. We've seen it before, and it's rather unconvincing that all of this could happen in one day. And in the end the film's only message seems to be that we need to find our real passion and stop hiding behind irony. Although that seems to be exactly what writer-director Dieckmann is doing.
Fortunately, Thurman is enjoyable in the role. She's in quirky, comical mode with silly glasses and messy hair, and she's lively enough to keep us interested in the insignificant things that happen to Eliza. She also just about manages to keep the shamelessly sentimental moments from being cringingly sappy. By the end, Dieckmann has stated the blindingly obvious in a vaguely witty way that's thoroughly undemanding. But perhaps this is adequate entertainment for people who are worn out by their busy lives.
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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