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The Other Sister

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Other Sister

Starring: Juliette Lewis, Diane Keaton
Director: Garry Marshall
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 131 Minutes
Release Date: February 1999
Genres: Comedy, Drama


*Also starring: Tom Skerritt, Giovann Ribisi, Hector Elizondo, Joanna Going



Review by MrBrown
1 star out of 4

A couple of days ago a friend told me about a conversation he had with screenwriter Robin Schiff about a sequel she had written to her fun, frothy _Romy_and_Michele's_High_School_Reunion_. In this promising second installment of the bubbleheaded blonde best buddies' adventures, Lisa Kudrow's Michele gets hitched, and she and Mira Sorvino's Romy open up their own restaurant, complete with--yes--a lunch special for businesswomen.

Sadly, Touchstone turned down the script, citing that it would not draw an audience even though the original was a midsize hit. But if Buena Vista's idea of audience-drawing films are projects like _The_Other_Sister_, the Mouse is in serious trouble. In this film, Juliette Lewis stars as Carla Tate, a mentally challenged young woman who wants to be treated like an independent adult once she returns home after years at a special school. Her parents, however--especially her overbearing mother (Diane Keaton)--are hesitant to let her go. Carla's romance with Danny McMahon (Giovanni Ribisi), another mentally challenged student at her vocational school (the scenes at which were all filmed at my and Cameron Diaz's alma mater, Long Beach Polytechnic High School), gives Carla's parents more reason to worry.

I could see this story possibly working as a drama; Lewis is particularly effective, delivering an understated and often touching turn as Carla. But director/co-scripter (with Bob Brunner) Garry Marshall play the material for laughs. Cheap laughs. For a film that aims to empower the mentally challenged, almost all the attempted comedy comes at the expense of Carla and Danny. Marshall would probably argue that the audience is laughing with them, but when a scene where Carla loudly yet earnestly describes human reproduction is played for comedy, the audience is clearly supposed to laugh _at_ her. The same thing goes for the entirety of Ribisi's performance, which is over-the-top to the point of mockery. The press notes describe _The_Other_Sister_ as "uplifting" and "bittersweet"; a more accurate description would be "insulting."

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