Lindsay Lohan’s unprofessional conduct on the set of Georgia Rule drove Morgan Creek CEO James G. Robinson to publicly lambaste the actress, yet it’s hard to understand his anger considering that her employment on Gary Marshall’s latest was directly related to her party-girl tabloid persona. In this gooey tale of mother-daughter reconciliation, Lohan stars as Rachel, a San Francisco teenager whose wild-child behavior—smoking crank, drunkenly crashing cars, having sex with any male in a 10-mile radius—drives frustrated mom Lilly (Felicity Huffman) to send her packing to Idaho to live with domineering grandma Georgia (Jane Fonda), whom Lilly can’t stand and Rachel barely knows. This relocation doesn’t immediately quell Rachel’s skankalicious libido, as it takes her no more than five minutes in town to aggressively (and insensitively) throw herself at both aw-shucks country boy Harlan (Garrett Hedlund) and the town’s widower veterinarian Simon (Dermot Mulroney). Just as Rachel initially continues her wayward ways, bossy Georgia persists in laying down the law with her “Georgia Rules” (which include no blasphemy, a crime punishable with a mouthful of soap) and frazzled Lilly carries on excessively smoking and drinking, the three women so blind to their various failings that they wouldn’t know respect and compassion if it bit them in the ass. Wither the path to Kumbaya-style healing? Unfortunately, it’s via Rachel’s admission that she was abused by stepfather Arnold (Cary Elwes), a revelation that leads to even more tears and maudlin introspection than did Rachel’s earlier decision to give the innocent Harlan—who has a girlfriend, and who’s poised to go on a two-year mission for the Mormon church—his first blowjob. Since Rachel is an untrustworthy liar, questions about the veracity of her molestation claim quickly arise, but the degree to which Georgia Rule exploits this is-it-true-or-isn’t-it mystery for dramatic tension is shameless, reducing childhood abuse to merely a manipulative plot device. Alas, it’s not even an effective one, as Rachel’s equation of sex and social acceptance is a dead giveaway as to whether she was victimized, though such simplistic pop psychology is par for the course for a film so facile that it posits “I love you” as the quick-fix remedy for its characters’ myriad, deeply rooted grievances.
- Universal Pictures
- 113 min
- Gary Marshall
- Mark Andrus
- Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Felicity Huffman, Dermot Mulroney, Cary Elwes, Garret Hedlund, Hector Elizondo, Zachary Gordon, Laurie Metcalf
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