Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Citizen Ruth - 1996 - Dir. Payne

You know, I kind of expected this to be a bit of a bomb. It's RISQUE subject matter as well as Payne's directorial debut gave me the feeling I would be watching a big mess of a film. That was not the case! In fact, out of all of his movies, I feel like this is the most impressive. It's not easy to make a movie about abortion funny while maintaining seriousness without getting bogged down with issues. Laura Dern's Ruth floats above all the bickering and morals issues tagged to her pregnancy and I feel like we float above it with her. Dern does an awesome job making Ruth likable too. It's easy to look down on the paint huffing simpleton at first, but I found myself rooting for her by the end. Considering the nutcases she's surrounded by, Dern may have had some of the work cut out for her. Kurtwood Smith and Mary Kay Place (I love them both) as well as Swoosie Kurtz and Kelly Preston are excellent extremes. Payne is good at having crazies never be too crazy. They aren't caricatures exactly, but they are larger than life. There's a general unevenness in the script though... I think especially with Tippi Hedren's character who seems completely pointless and more of a polar opposite of Burt Reynold's ridiculousness (AN AWESOME CAMEO). I suppose I can see why the movie isn't as big as it could be... It lacks catchy hooks, I suppose. Memorable characters. Payne is so quiet with his comedy sometimes. It's a real shame, though. It's really strong satire... I'm sure there's plenty of chuckles to be had in several viewings. And it has M.C. Gainey in it! WHO IS THE BEST.
Laura Dern doing her David Lynch impersonation.

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