Georgia Rule (2007) Review

Georgia Rule (2007) Review 1
Georgia Rule (2007) Review
Georgia Rule (2007)
Director(s): Garry Marshall
Actor(s): Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Felicity Huffman
Running Time: 113 min

You trivia buffs should know that this is the movie where Lindsay Lohan’s on-set behaviour was so egregious that she was threatened by the head of the studio funding it. Then again, if I was dealing with some of the subject matter covered in this movie I just might have looked to an out of control bender to relieve some of the stress too. Like he did with prostitution (Pretty Woman) and orphaned children left with unfit guardians (Raising Helen), director Garry Marshall finds the sunny-side of incest and child molestation with Georgia Rule.

At first we think teenage Rachel (Lohan) is your typical malcontent troublemaker with too much free time and disposable income. Her mother Lilly (Felicity Huffman) can’t take it anymore, so she’s packaged off Rachel to Idaho to spend the summer before college with Grandma Georgia (Jane Fonda). Georgia lives by a rather strict regiment that includes having Rachel watch her language and earn her keep by working for the local veterinarian (Dermot Mulroney). But Rachel still finds a way to make trouble by coming on to her boss and propositioning a good-natured Mormon boy in a committed relationship. But Rachel’s acting out may come from the fact that she might have been molested by her step-father, that is if she’s telling the truth about the abuse.

That last part wasn’t mentioned in the promotional material. Rather, the movie was sold as a multi-generational battle of wits (so to speak) like Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or the recent Because I Said So; I honestly wasn’t expecting an episode of Law and Order SVU. Make no mistake, this is serious subject matter to be taken seriously, but I never got that feeling from the movie and the tone of it is a confused mix of family comedy and disturbing melodrama. When the movie isn’t utilizing tired gags concerning the mental release of indulging one’s alcoholism or trying to tickle your funny bone with the overreaction of a Mormon boy to his first encounter with fellatio, the main story will make you squirm with its content and the relative flippantness the director treats it with.

Because of all the confusion generated by the tone that Marshall takes with the story, it’s really hard to judge the other merits of the movie, like the script for instance. Maybe under a different director it could have worked, for certainly Mark Andrus has done good work before with the equally difficult to quantify As Good as It Gets. Lohan once again proves that she is capable of actual acting; she manages the remarkable feat of salvaging the part from a tightly wound ball of bitchitude. Fonda’s pretty good too, but she’s really more of a supporting player in the movie named after her. Meanwhile, Huffman is left in a role that is nowhere near a match for her talents and Cary Elwes as the step-father is woefully miscast. Marshall regular Hector Elizondo brings his usual grace and presence…for the whole 30 seconds he’s in the movie.

Ultimately, I think Georgia Rule works as a curiosity, rather than a movie worth watching as its own entity. For me, I was too busy wondering what they were thinking while watching this thing; I know somebody thought there was a good idea here, and maybe there was, but what’s been left is a bizarre mess that will surely be remembered more for the post-film conversation than being a film worth talking about.

Final Thoughts

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