The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum


Director Robert (The Player) Altman adapts Garrison Keillor’s beloved radio show to the big screen with mixed results. The film focuses on the (fictional) last night of the final broadcast of the show. We see the radio show being performed intercut with the nominal backstage drama including two once famous singing sisters (Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin) and Streep’s vagabond daughter (Lindsay Lohan), a duo of slow witted cowpokes (Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly), Keillor’s put upon pregnant assistant (Maya Rudolph) and a dim witted private eye cum security guard named Guy Noir (Kevin Kline).

The script (by Keillor) sprinkles in some of the good natured humor that made the show famous, but Altman’s lackadaisical stylings, which on the outset seem perfectly suited for the material, wanders aimlessly from one musical number to the next. There’s also an unnecessary subplot about a mysterious angelic woman (Virginia Madsen) that never gets a satisfactory payoff. The lack of cohesion (not to mention an extraneous coda) really keeps the film from having any sort of impact and Lohan’s last minute belting out of “Frankie and Johnny” seems less like an ending and more like an opportunity for Lohan to sing.

Some of the performances are great (Kline is in top form as the bumbling Noir) as are a few catchy numbers (Reilly and Harrelson’s duet about bad jokes), but in the end it doesn’t add up to a compelling film. Fans of Altman and Keillor will likely eat the film up, but for the unassuming moviegoer, it doesn’t offer much Companion-ship. Tommy Lee Jones and L.Q. Jones co-star. Director Paul Thomas (Boogie Nights) Anderson, a longtime Altman devotee served as his assistant and is also the father of Rudolph’s baby.
Tags: drama, musical, p
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