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How To Deal

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: How To Deal

Starring: Mandy Moore, Allison Janney
Director: Clare Kilner
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 101 Minutes
Release Date: July a2003
Genres: Comedy, Romance


*Also starring: Alexandra Holden, Peter Gallagher, Trent Ford, Dylan Baker, MacKenzie Astin



Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

It's pretty bad when you find yourself nostalgic for something as recent as last summer's movies, but I am. I miss all of those fun popcorn flicks we had in the summer of '02, including EIGHT-LEGGED FREAKS, REIGN OF FIRE and XXX. Now, when this sorry sequel summer offers something other than second or third editions, it usually a mediocre melodrama like HOW TO DEAL, starring singer Mandy Moore.

Moore almost saved her last picture, A WALK TO REMEMBER, which was nothing worth remembering, but this time she plays in a movie so lame that it is unsavable. Perhaps she realized this since she just phones in her performance this time.

Directed as if it were on autopilot by Clare Kilner, the movie lacks both energy and pacing. It drifts like a driverless boat on a placid lake.

The slapdash script has a sixteen-year-old named Halley Martin (Moore) having to deal with the death of her best friend's boyfriend, the marriage of her sister into a stuck-up family and her father's marriage to another woman. Her father, played badly by Peter Gallagher, is a freeze-dried hippie DJ who claims to be the "big dog of soft rock." Halley's mother (Allison Janney) is still angry at her ex for having run around on her. At high school, a stoner type boy, but one with a good heart, has set his sights on Halley. The film is just as awful as it sounds.

There are several questionable parts for a PG-13 movie, whose main demographics are girl tweens. Besides the casual teen drinking, it features a long scene involving a dope smoking grandmother. The movie treats her addiction as casually as a preference for broccoli.

"Things do sometimes change," Halley's mother tells her. Well, the movie never does. It just limps along until it finally stops at a completely predictable point. What is the closest the movie comes to being good? In one brief incident, we see Halley reading "Madame Bovary." At least in that scene, we see the name of a good story. That's as close as we ever get.

HOW TO DEAL runs 1:41. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 14, thoroughly hated it, giving it just one *. He thought that is was like a bad television soap opera with no story but lots of subplots.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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