by Joe Barber
Robert Altman used to be a great director and Don King used to have a regular Afro. Both King’s real hair and Altman’s talent are long gone. This movie is perfect evidence of that disappearance.
Set in a small Southern town, this utterly cliched story centers on the death of an eccentric old lady (Patricia Neal) by her own hand. When her pretentious sister (Glenn Close) and slow-witted niece (Julianne Moore) discover her body, they try to make things look like a bungled burglary. Their handiwork accidentally implicates a trusted family friend (Charles S. Dutton) with an untold secret.
Meanwhile, Moore’s daughter, the family rebel (Liv Tyler), convinced Dutton is innocent, takes up residence in his jail cell. We’ve all seen movies like this before, too many times, actually, and the “great” Altman brings absolutely nothing new to the table.
In fact, he allows several members of his cast (particularly Close) to overact outrageously. And if I have to see one more story about the humble Black man taking care of the “crazy” old Southern lady (except for the well-acted Driving Miss Daisy), I’m going to boil me some grits for throwing, not eating at the idiot who puts it on screen. Enough already!