There are various apps and computer programs that can show us an older or younger version of ourselves. In fact I read somehwere optical stores use a program that shows the customer how they will look wearing the frames they picked out before they order new glasses, which I think is a brilliant idea. I know I do not need a program to remind me how I looked when I was younger; I have childhood friends who remind me. Funny thing though I can do the same thing to them. Depending on what they may be wearing or the situation, I can look at them and see them when they had a full head of hair or when they were taller with a straighter posture. Having spent most of our lives together we may not have noticed the aging process compared to someone who has not seen any of us in let us say a decade or longer. I truly feel fortunate that there are people around me who know me sometimes better than I know myself. They are like road markers on my life’s journey, who can confirm or remind me of the changes that have taken place in me. Looking at the younger generation in each of our families, we can spot the seeds of lifelong friendships forming between relatives and friends. Some of the qualities that are associated to a strong bond between friends can be sensitivity, empathy, non-judgemental and concern. I can say anything to any of my close friends and know I will not be judged or ridiculed. Those challenges or what some people say curveballs that life throws you do not seem so insurmountable when there is a childhood friend standing by your side. LIFELONG friends Jess and Milly, played by Drew Barrymore (Whip It, Music and Lyrics) and Toni Collette (The Way Way Back, Little Miss Sunshine), have been there for each other no matter what was going on in each of their lives. Their relationship was about to be challenged when two events started to take place from opposite sides of the spectrum. This comedic drama was fortunate in the casting of Toni and Drew as best friends because they were totally believable in their roles. Even the supporting cast of Dominic Cooper (Need for Speed, The Devil’s Double) as Kit and Paddy Considine (In America, Cinderella Man) as Jago was exceptional. I appreciated the honesty in the script; some events were handled in a way that made them easily relatable for the viewers. There were parts where I felt the writers dropped the ball to just manipulate us, however. I almost want to say to force us to tear up; but the acting smoothed some of that out. There have been a couple of recent films that had a similar story line that was better done; however, the acting here was the sweet spot of this romantic emotional story. It would not be a surprise if after seeing this film you felt like you were part of the women’s friendship.
2 1/2 stars
It is not easy to keep a smile on your face when you are sitting across from a jerk. There have been situations where a friend wants to introduce me to their new boy or girlfriend. I have no qualms meeting them but it can be hard when I see or hear things they say or do that raise a red flag in my mind. What can I say in private that will not offend them about the person they are dating? I have learned to only offer advice if I am asked and to remain supportive towards my friends. It is much harder to do this when it involves family. At a wedding where 2 families have come together to celebrate the marriage of their relatives it can be a challenging time for me. Sitting at a table with a relative from the other family, who is making rude and inappropriate remarks, can be an unpleasant experience. If it was one of my relatives I could say something, but with this virtual stranger, I have to be careful not to start a family feud and later see it all posted on the internet. Hopefully my unresponsive face and silent stare is enough of a clue for them to keep quiet. It can make for an uncomfortable time; but when I am forced to sit with someone who is prejudicial, my silence has served me well in the past. No one in this comedy film was related to me but I still had to sit through it being uncomfortable and bored. After a horrible blind date Lauren and Jim, played by Drew Barrymore (Charlie’s Angels, Big Miracle) and Adam Sandler (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy), accidentally found themselves at the same vacation destination, both with their families in tow. There would be no way they could avoid each other at the all inclusive African resort. It must have been time for Adam and his real family to take a vacation so this story was set in an exotic location. I enjoy all types of comedy but when you know what the punchline will be to every joke, it is not funny. The infantile script was filled with stereotypes and even used children simply as sight gags. I knew Terry Crews (The Single Moms Club, The Expendables franchise) as entertainer Nickens was supposed to be a parody, but I found his character annoying. Drew was the best part of this movie. It was clear to me that Adam plays the same character in every movie now; I find it pure laziness. If only he could have seen my blank face from the theater audience.
1 2/3 stars
There are parents that do whatever they can to give their children a better life. Whether they push their kids to work harder at their studies or to give more time to their practices, most parents want the best for their children. Growing up my mother would always tell me that I should become an accountant, because I was good with numbers. I did not know if it was because at the age of 8 years old I started selling my brothers’ comic books and records on the street corner, unbeknownst to them. Or at the age of 13, I got a job with my friends selling household products door to door; I was enterprising but had no desire to grow up and become an accountant. From what I have seen, you just never know how a child will turn out. The family dynamics were fascinating to me, in this touching drama. Recent widower Frank Goode, played by Robert De Niro (Being Flynn, Limitless), realized he had to find some way to connect with his children, now that their mother was gone. When the children cancel a planned holiday trip to come in and visit him, Frank decided he would surprise each of them by showing up at their homes unannounced. Some surprises, however, do not turn out as planned. Just because someone says they are fine, doesn’t necessary mean they are okay. In the past few years I felt Robert De Niro was becoming a cartoon character of himself. It was so good to see him take this role and bring out a nuanced, emotional vulnerability; I thought it was one of his better performances. Playing his daughters Amy and Rosie, Kate Beckinsale (Underworld franchise, The Aviator) and Drew Barrymore (Charlie’s Angels, Music and Lyrics) were quite good in this poignant film. I certainly will give more thought before telling someone I am fine, after having seen this movie.
3 stars — DVD