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Laramie Movie Scope: 28 Days

A kinder, gentler, funnier "Girl Interrupted"

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 16, 2000 -- “28 Days” is a drama that gets you about as far into the chemically-dependent mind as you'd want to go and still remain comfortable. This movie plays it pretty safe for the most part, but it does give you a hint of what goes on in the real world.

Sandra Bullock, who usually plays ditsy types, does a fine job in a more serious role as New York writer Gwen Cummings who is hooked on pills and booze. She's checked into a swank rehab joint for 28 days in lieu of jail time after a drunk driving incident. Cummings is in total denial at first and almost gets kicked out of the place before deciding she does have a problem and that she needs to solve it.

After deciding to knuckle down, Gwen, who was nasty to a lot of people has to make it up with a lot of housework, sort of like in "Private Benjamin." There are always the other addicts to play with, the main one being a handsome baseball player, Eddie Boone (Viggo Mortensen of "A Walk on the Moon"). The two become involved in the Zen of pitching as well as horse therapy. There's the funny, repressed guy, the funny scam artist, an ex-doctor, a heroin addict and lots of other colorful characters. There's also a running gag with a soap opera called "Santa Cruz."

Gwen's main problem, however, goes back to her own mother's addiction, and her disapproving sister (well played by Elizabeth Perkins of "Crazy in Alabama"). Her drunken boyfriend, Jasper (Dominic West of "Surviving Picasso") is another big problem, because he will drag her back into addiction. Her therapist, Cornell (Steve Buscemi of "Armaggeddon") tries his best, but ultimately, Gwen has to solve her own problems.

The plot is similar to other films of this type, such as "Girl, Interrupted," but it is on the light side with more humor. It doesn't offer any easy solutions and the characters are believable. The acting is uniformly good and Betty Thomas' directing is sharp (she used to be on Hill Street Blues). Writer Susannah Grant is on quite a tear. She also wrote "Erin Brockovich," "Ever After" and "Pocahontas." Not bad at all. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2000 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]