Kalamazoo? Movie Review
I wish I could say it's a good movie, but an unspeakably lame concept pretty much grounds any hope of that. As the three friends visit and ultimately discover their limitations -- represented by the revealing of the school's time capsule, which holds everyone's then-future hopes -- the women are escorted by the spirits of their dead grandmothers (played by the motley crew of Chita Rivera, Renée Taylor, and Claire Bloom). Yes, you've read correctly. It's an unnecessary idea, stealing time away from the three friends' personal struggles, which is really the meat of the story. Seriously, if you took the grandmother subplot out, what would you lose?
The grannies from beyond the grave gimmick is all the movie has, as it treads over territory previously covered by enough entries to make up a pretty good film festival: Grosse Pointe Blank, Beautiful Girls, Garden State, etc. Kalamazoo? is not particularly funny or poignant -- though it tries very hard to be -- and the three main characters don't seem like friends. The script gives them a bunch of forced banter to work with and little else. The less said about the supporting characters, which includes a shrill Jewish mother and two show-tune-singing parents, the better.
The press material for Kalamazoo? discusses how two producer sisters, screenwriter Joanna Clarke Scott (who shares starring duties with Josie Davis and Mayim Bialik), and Dana E. Kowalski, are from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and their satisfaction in bringing a movie to the town. I would agree, if it had that feeling of celebrating the ways of a hometown instead of focusing on kidnapping schemes, broad characters, and common problems. It's fitting that the best moments in Kalamazoo? are the little ones, like the fact that people who know you in high school only think of you in those terms, and that there's always one person who never shakes "the loser" stigma. Even the casting of Davis and Bialik -- two prominent teen actors from the late '80s and early '90s -- gives Kalamazoo? a feeling of time running out. Still, the little things can't overcome a lot of big problems.
Sip, don't slurp.
Cast & Crew
Director : David O'Malley
Producer : Dana E. Kowalski, Joanna Clare Scott, David O'Malley
Screenwriter : Joanna Clarke Scott