“I’m very verbal during sex,” says Bernice Graves (Bette Midler), a famous talk show host trying to engage April Epner (Helen Hunt) in conversation. Fathered by Steve McQueen (a lie) and given up for adoption when she was three days old (also a lie), April talks to her birthmother as if she were trying to make up for lost time—or as if she were the president of the Gilmore Girls fan club. Dialogue is a blunt-force trauma in Hunt’s directorial debut, which behaves like some avant-garde theater production where all the stage directions are spoken aloud. Such is the madness of the film’s characters that they answer questions with more questions or tell each other when they’re about to walk away from a moment of crisis, and if any of them had authored this review, they might have asked if you were getting what you wanted from it. “Why are you talking so fast?” someone says at one point, and later, when someone doesn’t answer one of April’s questions within a second of it being asked, she responds, “Do you have anything to say?” Hunt and Midler are both underrated actress, and though their conviction is obvious, their characters’ propensity to blather is neither unique nor justified, simply psychotic—a transparent attempt on the filmmakers’ parts to make this melodrama about motherhood and surrogacy seem less conventional and unspectacular than it really is.
- 100 min
- Helen Hunt
- Alice Arlen, Victor Levin, Helen Hunt
- Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick, Ben Shenkman, Lynn Cohen, John Benjamin Hickey, Salman Rushdie
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