|WHERE THE HEART IS (2000)|
|"I ain't never lived in a house that didn't have wheels on it."|
|Time: 120 mins.|
SYNOPSIS: A pregnant 17-year-old rebuilds her life after being abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma.
BOTTOM LINE: What surprised me most about this homespun drama is how bored I was by the whole affair. Normally this kind of hard luck tale gets me by the heart and refuses to let go. I admit I occasionally got misty-eyed, but even those poignant moments weren't enough to make this worthwhile. Portman does an adequate job as Novalee Nation, the lost and unlucky mom-to-be left to survive on the kindness of strangers. Luckily she makes some wonderful friends who give her and her daughter a place to stay and infuse her with hope for their future. She manages to survive one tragedy after another, never losing her faith in the inherent goodness of the world. She even finds love in the strangest of places. As much as I love the cast, this film meanders from trite to tired on its way to obvious-ville. Though the characters are unique and strong, there's nothing about this story that I hadn't seen before. Well, except Sally Field as a trashy, Southern blond. That was different. Judd, Channing and even Portman try to imbue this story with heart and sass and almost succeed. However, just because you're quirky and your life is a mess, doesn't mean you're interesting. I'm sure Portman took this role because it was different from all the mindless teen flicks. It's too bad it's not worth her talent. If you have a choice, I'd read the book.