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Awesome: 10.94%
Worth A Look46.88%
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5 reviews, 34 user ratings

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28 Days
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by Eugene Novikov

4 stars

I often wonder why so many writers choose a mental institution of some sort as the setting for their movie. The most plausible explanation is the potential for quirky supporting characters -- you need look no further for colorful personalities than a group of basketcases and preferably drug addicted ones.

It also gives a screenwriter a picture-perfect set-up for an ordinary-person-placed-in-group-of-eccentric-misfits plot, a favorite in Hollywood for years. The quitessential mental hospital movie is, of course, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; there have since been many imitators. The latest entry into the genre is the Sandra Bullock vehicle 28 Days, a superficially entertaining drama that doesn't bother to expand on its concept much beyond a skeleton. The characters are enjoyable; the plot is wafer-thin.

In this version, Bullock plays Gwen Cummings, a happy-go-lucky alcoholic who doesn't realize that she has a problem until she falls on her sister's wedding cake and, in an effort to find a replacement, crashes the "just married" limousine into a house. In her trial, which the film (for better or worse) skips over, she is sentenced to either 28 days of drug rehab or the equivalent time in jail. Not wishing to spend time in the slammer, Gwen understandably chooses the former. She arrives at the Serenity Glen Rehabilitation Center where people basically chant 24/7 (as a substitute for prayer, she is told). Of course, she's high above all of these freaks, utterly convinced that she can stop using any time she wants to.

The only person who liked Gwen the way she was before rehab was her boyfriend Jasper (Dominic West). He comes to visit Gwen at Serenity Glen, taking her out on boatrides and the like, never forgetting to bring along a bottle of champagne. This is about the time when Gwen starts getting serious about kicking the habit. She resents her boyfriend's attempts to turn her back into the mess of a person she was before and gets involved with a baseball pitcher (Viggo Mortensen) who is also in rehab.

28 Days is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a melodramatic tale of a woman discovering her worth as a person and that life can be good without booze. It's nothing groundbreaking, certainly, and director Betty Thomas (Private Parts) doesn't even suggest that there might be something here that is beyond the self-evident. Still, there is something to be said for a film that remains so watchable even when it's so obviously taking all the easy ways out. This is hardly The Road Less Traveled, but this highway is so smooth that it's a comfortable ride.

The film owes its success, in large part, to the typically likable lead performance by Sandra Bullock. We root for Gwen because Bullock makes it so apparent that she doesn't know any better; that the only path through life that anyone has ever shown her has been this destructive one. As she finally begins to wise up around the middle of the movie, we can't help but cheer her on. By the same token, Dominic West makes Jasper an effective bastard without foaming from the mouth; we despise him, but can imagine why Gwen was attracted to him in the first place. The characterization is simple, but it works.

Probably the only undisputed triumph here is the ending, which is sweet without being saccharine and nicely underscores the idea of positive human interaction instead of mind-altering substances. Despite everything, I became attached to Gwen Cummings during the course of the movie and its conclusion made me walk out with a smile.

The most remarkable thing about 28 Days is that it is being marketed as a comedy. I guess the marketers thought that no one in their right mind would attend a drug rehab movie that's not magically hilarious so they spliced together random clips from the film and made it seem like a laughfest. The film is not downbeat and it isn't depressing, but it certainly is not a comedy. As a drama, it's nothing special, but I must admit I enjoyed it and, at times, was even touched. Maybe next time someone will actually take some chances with the genre.

(Review reprinted from FilmBlather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1855&reviewer=419
originally posted: 03/04/07 06:43:43
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User Comments

2/01/13 David Hollingsworth Pretty great! 4 stars
12/14/07 Pamela White sandra makes an addict movie funny 4 stars
5/08/07 David Pollastrini Boooooring! 2 stars
10/07/06 William Goss Tonally uneven dramedy that stumbles about like a, well, drunk and never finds its footing. 2 stars
8/16/05 ES One funny line agood movie does not make= Bullock please stop! 1 stars
6/18/04 Phil M. Aficionado It's not really a good film in some ways. How come I liked it? Sandra, maybe. 4 stars
12/09/03 Samuel not much! 2 stars
7/07/03 Pam Good movie, acting and story line. 4 stars
3/15/03 arwen oddstar the only bad thing was her alchoholism was pinned on everything but herself. 5 stars
9/01/02 movie guy greay 5 stars
8/15/02 I Can't Swim See 'Requiem for a Dream' for the reality; see this for the Hallmark version of addiction 1 stars
5/14/02 Blake This movie teaches about where people will end up if they drink and do drugs 5 stars
3/01/02 Xaver Good story...lightweight drama...some good humor 3 stars
2/11/02 Butterbean Just a sweet movie that wasn't as bad as people make it out to be 4 stars
2/08/02 Regurja Tate Sandra Bullock at her worst (saying a lot!) Title not movie's length; just seems that way. 1 stars
8/29/01 Gary Sandra really needs to stop digging any deeper. 2 stars
6/22/01 Justin Cheung Totally enjoyed it! Nuff said. 5 stars
4/23/01 X By-the-numbers rehab drama with cliches up the wazoo. Viggo rises above it at times 2 stars
10/04/00 terry c average movie made better by bullock 3 stars
10/02/00 Jed An underrated yet overlong consistently funny dramedy for bullock/buscemi,etc. 4 stars
9/30/00 Trina I cried 4 times 4 stars
9/27/00 Monday Morning Dramatic comedy? Um...yeah...right. Cough, cough. 2 stars
8/14/00 Chickiepoo Sandra Bullock can't act worth shit! 1 stars
7/09/00 JonnyA I liked it a lot, good characters, performances, etc. 4 stars
5/29/00 PEAKY HIGH BOY SANDRA BULLOCK is excellent in this DRAMA/COMEDY that will make you smile 5 stars
5/28/00 Belinda How pathetic! 1 stars
5/24/00 tom rush entertaining 4 stars
4/29/00 Sandy Stupid ideas, sloppy ending; but good Bullock, great Dominic West, and fantastic Buscemi 3 stars
4/27/00 Robin Mingle I thought the movie was absolutely wonderful. Full of entertainment. Sandra was excellent. 5 stars
4/20/00 tom rush interesting 4 stars
4/18/00 Chartsy Critics elsewhere have been harsh, but a pretty cute little movie 3 stars
4/16/00 "Persnickety" critics are being way too harsh with this movie, it is cute, and sends a good message! 4 stars
4/15/00 M.gunnerQuist Sandra Bullock fans will love it. Critics expected Macbeth or something-- I mean come on!! 4 stars
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  14-Apr-2000 (PG-13)


  25-May-2000 (M)

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