28 Days Movie Review

Everyone knows that writers are drunks. I mean, I'm drunk right now. I'm surprised I can type, you know, since my hands are shaking so bad and my vision is so blurry.

If you're ready to buy in to the writer-as-alcoholic cliché, you should just love 28 Days, which pulls out every stereotype in the book. Sandra Bullock stars as Gwen, the aforementioned drunk writer (living, naturally, in New York City), who ruins her sister's wedding by insulting her during the toast, falling on the cake, and wrecking the "just married" car by crashing it into a house! Off to rehab for her, where she meets a cast of characters drawn so broadly they could populate a sitcom on UPN.

Those also trying to sober up include heroin addict Andrea (TV's Azura Skye), sex fiend Oliver (TV's Michael O'Malley), and drunk ex-doctor Daniel (TV's Reni Santoni). There's the requisite love interest, drunk baseball pitcher Eddie (Viggo Mortensen), plus the devil on poor Gwennie's shoulder, boyfriend Jasper (Dominic West), whom she's left back at home to carouse through the big city while she sobers up.

Gwen and co. are put through their 12 steps in short order, hugging, chanting, cleaning, climbing, singing, taking classes, and bonding with one another over this horrible, horrible disease they all must learn to deal with. See Gwen try to charm a horse. See Gwen's sister (Elizabeth Perkins) confront her. See Gwen sob over mother (also an alky), who died when she was a kid, safely laying the blame off on someone else. See audience roll eyes. Wow, these 28 days really only feel like 19!

The whole movie walks a tightrope between farce and melodrama, but falls liberally into both. In fact, the only saving graces of the film come from the caricatures of supporting characters: Steve Buscemi as Gwen's fallen angel counselor; Alan Tudyk stealing the show as a flamboyantly gay, vaguely Teutonic basket case.

Regular readers of filmcritic.com will know that I've never been a fan of Miss Bullock's work (see also The Net), and her "Golly, I hope I get an Oscar" performance here doesn't do much to change my opinion. Director Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie) is also completely out of her element. She even shot six episodes of the faux soap opera "Santa Cruz" featured as a running gag in the film -- time that might have been better spent teaching Sandra how to do drama.

But what am I saying? I'm just a drunk writer whose only worry is where his next martini is coming from. Don't listen to me. Hey, bartender!

D'oh! Sandy fall down!


28 Days Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2000


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