Actually we had started to watch it about a month ago, on an evening when I was very tired. For some reason I found the opening sequences too confusing, and somewhat gross. We see a lot of shoes, two young women, one of them in compromising positions at an office party, then throwing up and phoning her sister, who’s in bed with someone else … hardly an auspicious opening on an evening when I wanted something light and totally undemanding.
However, last night I was more wide awake and willing to try again. I still didn’t much like the opening, but the story quickly became more interesting. Cameron Diaz’s character, Maggie, is basically a spoilt brat who can’t keep a job, seduces men at every opportunity, and even steals money from family and friends. Her older sister Rose (Toni Collette) is sensible, hard-working… and lonely. In almost every respect she is a contrast to Maggie, except that they both like shoes.
They evidently have a stormy relationship, and Rose regularly bails her sister out while trying to persuade her to look for work. But this time Maggie does something so awful that Rose severs the relationship entirely. At that point, Maggie goes to visit a long-lost relative (Shirley MacLaine) and finds herself staying in a retirement centre for senior citizens. Gradually she starts to take more responsibility - and at the same time we see Rose begin to throw off some of the shackles of responsibility, and start to live a more bohemian lifestyle.
There’s a romance involved, but it’s not the main feature of the film, and the hero (Mark Feuerstein) begins as a rather dorky guy, pushing for a date in a not particularly attractive way. The scenes at the retirement centre are wonderful; there are some very amusing scenes, and some great lines. Apparently (as we learned in one of the ‘extras’ on the DVD) the people shown are not regular extras, but the people who were actually living in the centre concerned, playing parts that suited them best. They did a wonderful job, with humour and skill.
Rated 12A (PG-13 in the US), there’s nothing too explicit but several bedroom scenes with strong implications, and some mild swearing. I can’t imagine it would be of any interest to anyone younger than about fifteen anyway.
It’s not the kind of film I’m likely to watch again in a few years (not that I do that much anyway!) nor one I’ll necessarily remember in future, but the issues related to the importance of family connections lifted it a little above the average, and it made a very enjoyable evening’s viewing.
Review by Sue F copyright 2017 Sue's DVD Reviews