HANGING UP (1998) 

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Meg Ryan
Diane Keaton
Lisa Kudrow
Walter Matthau
Adam Arkin
Duke Moosekian
Ann Bortolotti
Cloris Leachman
Maree Cheatham
Myndy Crist

Diane Keaton



Time: 94 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy

SYNOPSIS: A trio of sisters bond over their ambivalence toward the approaching death of their curmudgeonly father, to whom none of them was particularly close.

BOTTOM LINE: I can understand the desire of these very talented comedic actresses had to work together. What I want to know is what drugs they were on that convinced them this was a good vehicle for their talent. Matthau has made his career by playing curmudgeony men, so his role in this debacle seems pretty clear. He even manages to give it some real poignancy and humor despite being a complete ass. As for the ladies, I think they need to leave the choosing of their roles to people who can actually tell the difference between a funny script and one that sucks the life out of the picture with every passing frame. The film's biggest problem is the fact that they are rarely onscreen together, which you'd think was the point of them being in this movie.

They communicate mostly by phone – hence the title – which may be the only way these three busy sisters can communicate, but it doesn't make for very interesting interactions. Ryan plays the middle sister, jealous of her older sister's success and saddled with the care of their aging father who's health is progressively declining. She's supposed to be the glue keeping this family together, but with a script this humorless, it's a thankless task. The film is such a mess, moving relentlessly back and forth through time, that you wish Matthau's character would just die already to make the melodrama stop. Family dysfunction is rarely a laughing matter, especially in this film. A true example of how even great talent can't overcome a terrible script.

"You always ignore me! ever since i was 7 years old for Halloween and i dressed up as a carrot and you two snuck off without me. I'm just as much a part of this family as either of you... AND I WANNA FIGHT!"

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