Miss You Already

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I went to this screening at a time where watching a woman fighting breast cancer was the last thing I wanted to do. I have three brave friends currently fighting this battle.

The cast of this included the underrated and terrific Toni Collette dealing with the horrible disease. Dominic Cooper, who usually plays the heavy, as the caring husband. Jacqueline Bisset was a pleasant surprise, playing the mom and successful television actress. Unfortunately, the filmmakers cast Drew Barrymore, who I’m convinced should stick to wacky comedies where she’s going out on multiple dates with Adam Sandler. She has no range, and doesn’t pull off any of the serious scenes.

This becomes a buddy picture with Milly (Collette) raising two kids and finding out she has cancer. Her BFF is Jess (Drew Barrymore). I didn’t mind that she had an American accent while living in London, until the flashback shows that she moved to the UK as a young child. Her story involves trying to conceive a child, while also keeping Milly in line. You see, once Milly is diagnosed, she sort of goes off the rails. She starts to flash guys at bars, buy everyone drinks at bars, flirt with guys at bars, and…well, lots of hanging out at bars.

Unfortunately, all these shenanigans are cliche, and worse — not humorous. A few of the jokes that were funny, are actually old jokes; always a pet peeve for screenwriters.

Director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Twilight) and screenwriter Morwenna Banks deserved to be panned for a movie that will make my worst-of-the-year list. The list of contrivances are endless. For example: watching the actress/mom (Bisset) with drink in hand, saying rude things about how important breasts are and pushing the idea of implants. Listening to the same topics we’ve heard at many dinner parties, and previous films, before.

None of these characters seem real. They’re all just caricatures. That’s a shame, because Collette does great going from party girl, to mom, to a somber cancer patient. She deserved a better film.

Barrymore’s husband is played by Paddy Considine. He could’ve been an interesting character. He does have a few fun wisecracks, but we hardly buy the few small fights they have.

Another problem with this movie is that Milly is so unlikable. It would be understandable to have a character get horrible news and do a few nasty things. But the level of selfishness she shows is astounding. One example is a surprise party her husband throws for her. She walks in, pouts, and while giving a toast, completely goes off on everyone there. The husband pulls her aside, and he gets verbally assaulted. As she jumps into a cab (to leave everyone to party without her), Jess follows along. They tell the foreign cabbie to drive to the Yorkshire moors — 250 miles away. The cab driver tells Jess, “My wife had cancer. What you’re doing for her is great.”

Really? You both have families, friends, husbands — and it’s great to just go off on a journey in the middle of the night, telling nobody of where you’re going?

It becomes another Boys on the Side/Beaches?  

[side note: Boys on the Side, also with Barrymore, is the first movie I ever walked out of].

And just when I want to give the director credit for something — for example, showing the mastectomy scars — it’s ruined by what they have the characters do in that moment.

For every good line (“She’s being a cancer bully” or “I didn’t want his mother to move in, but I was blinded by the thought of free babysitting”), there are 10 bad ones.

You’ll get the usual scenes — losing hair, and then having it shaved of. Doctors giving bad news, and the close-up of the patient upon hearing it. And it’s a buddy picture — so you’ll get the women singing along to a tune on the radio (unfortunately, it’s REM). At least they had the good sense to blast out Joan Jett’s cover of Crimson & Clover in a bar scene.

This film is cheesy, manipulative garbage. That being said, the crowd at the screening liked it, as did my date for the evening. She lost her mom to breast cancer at a young age, and felt the movie depicted those situations well.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I thought this was one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year (and I gave a good review to the Julianne Moore/Ellen Page cancer film last month, which got mixed reviews).

This gets 1 star out of 5.