Video: Snoozing 'In the Bedroom'
By STEVE PERSALL, Times Film Critic
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 15, 2002
In the Bedroom (R)
There were Oscar nominations aplenty for In the Bedroom, including nods for Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson, yet it failed to be a memorable film.
Five Academy Award nominations (but no Oscars) were bestowed on this downbeat drama about a family in crisis. Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson were lead-performer nominees as parents whose son (Nick Stahl) falls in love with an older woman (best supporting actress nominee Marisa Tomei), whose ex-husband creates a tragic situation. Strong performances and Todd Field's attention to detail in his screenplay and direction made this 2001's darling among many film critics.
First impressions: "When you wade through the hype and see the movie, In the Bedroom isn't a big deal. A good movie, to be certain, but not the salvation flick of 2001. It's more like a USA Network movie of the week slowed down to a pace that makes it seem more artful, more important. You watch, you pay attention, you leave, you forget.
"In the Bedroom is worth a look with properly lowered expectations. It's a sturdy piece of fiction, no more or less. Spacek's name will be heard from here to Oscar time, but I'd still prefer Halle Berry's final scene in Monster's Ball to the entirety of this performance."
Second thoughts: So did Academy Award voters.
Rental audience: Curious movie buffs.
Rent it if you enjoy: Sling Blade, Ordinary People.
Birthday Girl (R)
Nicole Kidman plays a Russian mail-order bride with a seductive criminal agenda. Her intended husband (Ben Chaplin) works in a bank she plans to rob with two countrymen (Vincent Cassel, Mathieu Kassovitz), providing the intimidation factor.
First impressions: ". . . an uneven blend of screwball romance and outdated Quentin Tarantino riffs lacking enough love and bullets for those comparisons to matter. Director and co-writer Jez Butterworth never quite lets out the reins on his material as in the similar films Something Wild and Reindeer Games. If not for Kidman's erotically charged femme fatale, the movie might slip straight to home video."
Second thoughts: Well, here it is. No shoving at the checkout counter, please.
Rental audience: Kidman admirers only.
Rent it if you enjoy: A Life Less Ordinary, Something Wild.
A hard-as-nails Los Angeles detective (Robert De Niro) and a beat cop who's also a part-time actor (Eddie Murphy) are paired together for a reality TV show. Crooks don't take them seriously, viewers want their autographs in the midst of investigations and director Tom Dey (Shanghai Noon) doesn't miss a chance to spoof television programs such as Cops and T.J. Hooker.
First impressions: "Those elements might make excellent comic grist in the hands of the right filmmakers. But not here: Showtime, directed with minimum zest and maximum conventionality by Dey, isn't much of an improvement over the programs being mocked. The plot is an uninspired wrinkle on all the police-story conventions we've come to know and tolerate." (Philip Booth, Times staff writer)
Second thoughts: Did you ever think a movie starring De Niro and Murphy would make such a fast exit from theaters?
Rental audience: Diehard fans of the co-stars; people who videotape Cops for collecting.
Rent it if you'd settle for: Beverly Hills Cop IV.
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