Volume 92, Issue 49
Tuesday, December 1, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Barrymore's Homefries overdone
Photo by Deana Newcomb
By Sara Martel
There are no witty metaphors to describe either the movie Homefries or the breakfast side dish after which it was entitled. Too much respect is owed to the tasty potato gems to compare them to this disappointing movie.
Drew Barrymore stars as Sally Jackson, a sweet small town girl and BurgerMatic employee in director Dean Parisot's stab at a dark comedy. Sally is pregnant with the child of a married man named Henry, who meets his demise early in the film when two soldiers literally scare him to death with a helicopter prank.
These soldiers are Henry's step-sons, Dorian and Angus (Luke Wilson and Jake Busey respectively), sent to kill Henry for their unstable mother Mrs. Lever (Catherine O'Hara). Included on Lever's hit list, besides her cheating husband, is his mistress Sally.
Taking a position at the BurgerMatic to see how much the employees know about Henry's murder, Dorian meets the pregnant Sally and falls for her, unaware of Sally's connection to his step-father. Dorian's feelings naturally get in the way of his brother and mother's plan to find and kill Sally.
At times the story seems nothing short of ridiculous and the climax is hackneyed and predictable. Movies which have quirky connections between characters can often result in an engaging plot, but it is not so with Homefries. To support such an attempt at an intricately maneuvered comedy/romance, solid dialogue and intriguing characters are essential.
Here, the dialogue lacks wit and substance. Homefries simply can't satisfy the taste for surprise and intrigue the dark comedy genre demands. Nothing comes from the bizarre circumstances in the film, except a forgettable story and the craving for a burger.
Further weakening the effort, are the underdeveloped characters who are too flat to support the already feeble plot. It feels as though the writers fished out the film's personalities from a barrel of stock characters. There is the dim-witted sheriff, the crazy old drunk, the dominating mother and doting son. These characters may have been redeemed if the acting had been strong enough, but that isn't this case. Catherine O'Hara gives a reasonable performance, but her efforts are lost amongst the ridiculous lines and weak acting around her.
Barrymore plays her usual sweet and naive girl-in-trouble, almost identical to her roles in both Boys On The Side and last year's hit The Wedding Singer. Barrymore does the Pollyanna role well, but even her big eyes and bobbing ringlets are not enough to redeem this film.
Between the weak dialogue, the unoriginal characters and vacuous plot, director Parisot's first attempt at a full-length feature lacks the elements needed to stir, or even mildly entertain viewers. Watching this movie is like eating a breakfast which consists of homefries, but no eggs both leave you unsatisfied and searching for sustenance.
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