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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Beautiful Girls (1996)

A late 20-something man (Timothy Hutton), currently living in New York, returns home to his small town in Massachusetts for his high school reunion. His friends have never left and he uses this visit to try and discover where he wants his path to go. Directed by Ted Demme, this ensemble dramedy had me going hot and cold through out its running time. The cast is excellent with each character well defined and it was a pleasure watching the actors go through their paces. On the downside, most of the characters are jerks (are there really rednecks in Massachusetts?) and all of the male characters borderline a-holes. And it's hard to sympathize with some of the female characters who inexplicably want those jerks! To the film's credit, Scott Rosenberg's original screenplay allows its characters to finally man up and grow up. The relationship between Hutton and the 13 year old girl (Natalie Portman) is a bit on the creepy side, almost venturing into Woody Allen territory. But Portman and Uma Thurman (as a Chicago visitor) provide some much needed levity and sensibility. With Matt Dillon, Mira Sorvino, Rosie O'Donnell, Sam Robards, Martha Plimpton, Annabeth Gish, Michael Rapaport, Lauren Holly, Noah Emmerich, David Arquette, Max Perlich and John Carroll Lynch. 

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