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Ellen Burstyn, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith, Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, Jacqueline McKenzie, Katy Selverstone Kiersten Warren, Allison Bertolino, Angus MacFadyen

Directed by: Callie Khouri
Written by: Mark Andrus, Callie Khouri, Rebecca Wells
Produced by: Bonnie Bruckheimer, Hunt Lowry
Distributor: Warner Brothers

US: 07/06/02 UK: 27/09/02

Deep Fried Southern comedy drama about life, love and family. Follows follows a group of lifelong friends (inc. flashbacks) as they stage an unorthodox intervention to help a young playwright unravel the truth about her eccentric mother, find forgiveness and come to terms with her difficult past. If this ain't a Chick Flick, nothing is.

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Katy Selverstone, Kiersten Warren and Ashley Judd do the sisterly thing and strip to their underwear in a car!

This sprawling generational drama features fantastic performances and examines some very strong themes. But it's also surprisingly thin plot-wise, with a convoluted and indulgent structure badly in need of a dispassionate editor. At the centre of the story is Sidda (Bullock) an up-and-coming New York playwright who gets in trouble with her tough-minded mother Vivi (Burstyn) when she speaks her mind about her tormented childhood. So Vivi's childhood friends--the self-proclaimed Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Smith, Flanagan and Knight)--kidnap Sidda and take her down home to Louisiana to help her sort out her relationship with Vivi ... and of course her entire past.

With this cast and premise, the film could have been an unbearable chick flick, but writer-director Khouri (Thelma & Louise) avoids this by keeping to the bones of the story, concentrating on universal themes of childhood, love and loyalty, and having a couple of strong male characters intricately involved (and superbly played by Garner, MacFayden and Smith). This lets the rest of the amazing cast shine at what they do best: trying to steal scenes from each other. Burstyn and Judd, as the same character at different stages of life, are the standouts. Still, there are serious problems in the logic department--trying to mentally fill in the gaps is very distracting. Some plot points are unexplained and therefore lost entirely, while others feel not nearly as dramatic as they're built up to be. And the multi-flashback, spanning-the-generations structure is very confusing, as every character is played by at least two actors. And there are a lot of them! But along the way to the touchy-feely finale, there's some far-superior comedy and drama for us to sink ourselves into.



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