Beautiful Girls

Timothy Hutton is a failed piano player who comes home to snowy Massachusetts and finds all his friends exactly as he left them, stuck in the same nowhere jobs and stagnant relationships. Sounds as entertaining as a tumor, but Beautiful Girls is consistently smart and funny — sharply written and well-acted, with an authentic Bay State fatalism underlying every scene. Matt Dillon, Michael Rapaport, and Max Perlich make their living by plowing snow before the sun comes up. The women in town (Mira Sorvino, Lauren Holly, Martha Plimpton, Anne Bobby) torture themselves trying to figure out these men and their supermodel-influenced fear of commitment. (The guys all seem to be holding out for Cindy and Elle.) The saner women are essentially outsiders: Rosie O’Donnell barges into the movie and blasts the guys for their obsession with tits; Uma Thurman, the visiting cousin of barkeep Pruitt Taylor Vince, resists the men’s feeble come-ons; Annabeth Gish, Hutton’s lawyer fiancée, has competition from precocious girl-next-door Natalie Portman (in the film’s best performance). Director Ted Demme and writer Scott Rosenberg add many touches that ring refreshingly true — my favorite is the ’80s-rock station Rapaport listens to. One of the best films about the so-called “Generation X,” unfairly dismissed by some impatient baby-boomer critics. Also with Noah Emmerich, Richard Bright, David Arquette, Sam Robards, and a rousing group rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Demme’s next was Monument Ave, though he also directed a Denis Leary concert film for HBO (Lock ‘n’ Load) before that.

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Explore posts in the same categories: comedy, drama

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