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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cookie's Fortune (1999)

In a small Southern town, an old woman (Patricia Neal, the Cookie of the title) commits suicide. When her niece (Glenn Close) discovers the body, in order to save the family's name from the disgrace of suicide, she destroys the suicide note and arranges the evidence to look like her aunt was killed by a burglar. This second tier Robert Altman dark comedy may not be among his best work but it's an amiable, playful effort. He can't prevent himself from going the usual condescending to the South route but for the most part it's inoffensive (except for Chris O'Donnell's dumb rookie cop). It's Altman light and he appears to be coasting but it's still preferable to the mess that followed: DR. T AND THE WOMEN. The film is a showcase for Charles S. Dutton as Cookie's handyman but the acting honors go to Julianne Moore who gives a charming performance as Close's mentally challenged sister. The large ensemble cast includes Liv Tyler, Ned Beatty, Lyle Lovett, Courtney B. Vance, Donald Moffat, Niecy Nash and Ruby Wilson.

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