Stepmom (1998) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language and thematic elements
Running Time: 124 min.
Cast: Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, Jena Malone, Liam Aiken
Director: Chris Columbus
Screenplay: Gigi Levangie, Jessie Nelson, Steven Rogers, Karen Leigh Hopkins, Ron Bass
Review published June 25, 1999
Two divorced parents cope with the father's new bride-to-be not getting along with their two children who are unwilling to accept her as their stepmother. There is tension all-around as no one likes each other, further complicated by the revelation that the natural mother has been diagnosed with cancer.
A mostly effective and sometimes endearing comedy-drama with good performances by the leads. The overall effectiveness is undercut somewhat by tired "chick flick" clichés, contrived attempts at comedy and typical Hollywood depictions of children (i.e. too adorable to be believed). Much of the film's attempts at humor stem from lip-synching to Motown tunes (a la Hope Floats) and dressing the kids up in costumes at every opportunity.
Passably trite entertainment that will be eaten up mostly by women who enjoy looking at nice scenery, big houses full of the classic furniture, kids who do their homework and eat all their food, and lots of soul-bearing argumentative confrontations.
©1999 Vince Leo