Robin shares a ride in her car from NYC to LA with Jane. They stop at Jane's friend's place in Pittsburg and take her with them west, making a long stop in Tucson. The 3 very different women become close friends.
The high-school student Matt Leland lives with his twin brother and sister and his father in a house by the lake. When the teenager Casey Roberts moves to the house on the other side of the... See full summary »
Seriocomic story based on the memoir by Beverly Donofrio, the movie follows a young woman who finds her life radically altered by an event from her teen years. Born in 1950, Beverly grew up bright and ambitious in a working-class neighborhood in Connecticut; her father was a tough but good-hearted cop who listened to his daughter's problems, and her mother was a nervous woman eager to imagine the worst. From an early age, Beverly displays a keen intelligence and an interest in literature, and dreams of going to college in New York and becoming a writer. However, she also develops an early interest in boys, and at 15 finds herself madly in love with a boy from her high school. However, an attempt to get his attention leads to an embarassing incident at a party, and Ray, a sweet but thick-headed 18-year-old, steps forward to defend her. Beverly and Ray end up making out, and after one thing leads to another, Beverly discovers she's pregnant. Telling Ray is only marginally less difficult...Written by
Beverly D'Onofrio: guests at Beverly's wedding, sitting directly behind Drew Barrymore. When Faye says, "I just wanted to say how beautiful Bev looks tonight," Barrymore turns to smile at the real D'Onofrio. See more »
When Beverly cries in the bathroom at the party, she takes a cigarette off Ray, then moves her hand out of the shot. When she brings her hand back up, the cigarette is gone. See more »
[to young Jason]
You're gonna hear a lot of bad things about me, but only two of the three things are gonna be right.
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Beverly knows more than others how your life can change direction with one simple action. She had dreams of becoming a writer as a child but when she got pregnant at 15 all of that changed and she found herself married and living in a cheap house raising a son while trying to study for her exams. This is the start of her struggles where her husband never aspires beyond his next beer and she struggles with responsibility towards her son Jason. Years later, riding with her adult son on a trip, she thinks back over her years.
The title and trailer pretty much let me know that this was aimed at a certain demographic that I am not part of, but I decided to give it a go anyway. The plot is a tapestry of moments across Beverly's life from her dreams to middle age; it is a mix of the comic and the tragic and it doesn't sit that well. Penny Marshall seems to want the comedy to come out even when it is not appropriate (for example Beverly allowing Jason to continue drowning for comedy effect) and this sits very uneasily with the more dramatic character side of the film. In fact the more serious (and interesting) aspects are mostly badly handled and fall a bit flat. In particular Marshall cannot cope very well with the fact that her lead character is a deeply flawed person that the audience easily dislike at times; the film gets close to examining this at the end but, typically, chickens out big time. The story is mainly quite dull then and the moments that are meant to be funny just seem strangely out of place.
The cast don't help at all. Barrymore is serviceable but can't get to the heart of her character. OK, she isn't helped by the material but she swings wildly from playing "silly" at one moment to overdoing the histrionics. Zahn is not the first choice you want for a film with a story; he goofs well enough but finding depth is not really his forte and he adds to the shallow feel of the main story. Gilbert is hardly in it but Murphy is actually quite good, but then the material doesn't really ask much of it anyway. Woods and Bracco add familiar faces but really nothing else, in tiny roles. Perez plays a money grabber in a small role and made me wonder if she goes out of her way to find such characters? A minor thing that got to me as well was the fact that this is meant to play over years and years but mostly, nobody ages convincingly: apart from costume and hairstyle Barrymore looks the same at the start and the end of the story and this pretty much goes for everyone. A minor quibble but it bothered me.
Overall this is an average and uneven film. The story is interesting because it features such a flawed lead character and could have been interesting but it is roundly mishandled. The comic moments sit uneasily with the story as a whole, but Marshall seems happier with these touches than actually delivering the drama goods. The cast match her approach and their performances vary wildly depending if the scene they are shooting that day was a "happy scene", "sad scene" or "angry scene". Target audience might like it but it is far too flawed to have wider appeal.
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