Georgia Rule (2007)

GARRY MARSHALL

Bil’s rating (out of 5): B

USA, 2007, Screenplay by .   Cinematography by .   Produced by , .   Music by .   Production Design by .   Costume Design by .   Film Editing by , .

Rebellious and irreverent, city gal shows up in her grandmother’s dusty home town after her mother (Felicity Huffman) decides she has no idea what else to do about her daughter’s disciplinary problems.  Huffman has her own outstanding issues with her mom, played by Jane Fonda, and believes Lohan will benefit from time spent with the tough lady who doesn’t allow cursing and lays down her “Georgia rules” at every opportune moment.  Lohan turns the place upside down from the moment she arrives, romancing good-natured roughneck Garrett Hedlund and going to work for the handsome veterinarian () who also treats humans since, let’s face it, the town is small enough.  When Lohan flippantly reveals a dark secret about her home life with mom and stepfather , she at first tries to laugh it off as a prank until Huffman rolls back into town to straighten things out and get to the bottom of whether or not her daughter is telling the truth.  Late, great showman Garry Marshall tried for years to get this film made, possibly his attempt at something deeper and more legitimate than the comedies he was most famous for; trouble is, he films a story involving some very heavy themes without anything other than his usual tools, small-town life out of a commercial, highly contrived situations and characters who have no credibility thanks to how glamorous they are.  This works beautifully in Runaway Bride but here it makes for something awkward and confusing:  it’s hard to understand if the movie knows if Lohan’s character is telling the truth until the end, but we’re certain it is uncomfortable approaching it the entire time.  Reports from the set told of an unhappy workplace, this movie was made around the time that Lohan’s off screen personal problems were reaching their zenith, and sadly the trouble shows in the finished product, her performance is inconsistent and uncomfortable and she never connects with anyone else on screen.  The other two stars could more than compensate except that both of them are relegated to glorified cameos and don’t get enough of the weight plot’s weight on their much more capable shoulders.

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