Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Glorified After School Special With Real Actors: 28 Days

The Good: Competent acting, Good message, Reasonable characters
The Bad: Predictable in many places
The Basics: Occasionally obvious and often preachy, 28 Days is an attempt at a dramedy which fails to be either comedy or drama; overall a sense of it doesn't know what it wants.

It wasn't until I wrote my title line that I knew how I was going to rate the film 28 Days. Occasionally, it comes down to a coin toss for me. Not so with this film. Ultimately, I asked myself "Would I recommend this movie to a friend?" Well, no. The better question for me is: Would I watch this movie again given the chance?

Looking at the Good and the Bad, the instant question might be, "why not?" The truth is, this is one of those few less-than-scientific reviews I'll write: it was intangible. Moreover, when the best adjective I can come up with for the acting is "Competent," well, that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

The truth is, 28 Days didn't grab me. I waited for it to, but it never did.

28 Days chronicles the experience of Gwen Cummings in a drug/alcohol/apparently other things, too Rehabilitation Center. After she ruins her sister's wedding, she is sentenced to rehab and 28 Days is supposedly her emotional journey from addict to independent. There's no more plot than that and that's fine; the film is rightly about a character. If you're looking for a film where things happen, this isn't it.

I say "supposedly" and I think that's probably the crux of my disenchantment with the film; it never seems terribly emotive to me. So, perhaps, it's designed to be an unbiased view of the rehab experience. That might have been a good idea, save the use of attempted humor throughout the movie. The film tries to be funny, it fails. The film tries to be dramatic (the most emotive moment comes near the end, so I shall not make it explicit) and succeeds in being predictable.

Perhaps I missed the point; maybe the film was trying to illustrate that rehab is just another experience; nothing extraordinary about it. If so, it worked on that level. The problem is, it wasn't terribly entertaining. So, if you're looking to calm someone's fear of rehab, this might be an effective tool. If you're looking for an enjoyable night of entertainment, look elsewhere.

Moreover, the film used its actors disappointingly. The usually wonderful Steve Buscemi is relegated to the background. Sandra Bullock is fine, but nothing extraordinary. That is, she meets the requirements of the role, but she seemed to add nothing to it. I feel I could have read the script and gotten the same performance, if you understand that; usually actors bring something to the performance. Not so here.

What the movie succeeds at is this: it perfectly illustrates the frailties of the human animal. The characters are people who make mistakes. They make them frequently, in fact. The characters often read as very real and that's a huge plus.

It is not, however, enough to save this film. Was I sorry I saw it? No. Will I watch it - or the almost certain sequel that's bound to come from it - again? No.

For other works featuring Sandra Bullock, please check out my reviews of:
The Proposal


For other film reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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