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Cookie's Fortune

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Cookie's Fortune

Starring: Glenn Close, Charles S. Dutton
Director: Robert Altman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: April 1999
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler, Chris O'Donnell, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, Courtney B. Vance, Donald Moffat, Lyle Lovett

Review by MrBrown
3½ stars out of 4

Robert Altman's most fun movie since 1992's _The_Player_ is this wickedly enjoyable dark comedy--which, any way you slice it, is one steaming slab of Southern-fried soap. Among those populating the small town of Holly Springs are scheming spinster Camille (Glenn Close); her spineless, half-wit sister Cora (Julianne Moore); Cora's rebellious daughter Emma (Liv Tyler), who is carrying on with another half-wit, sheriff's deputy Jason (Chris O'Donnell); Camille and Cora's octogenarian aunt Cookie (Patricia Neal); and Cookie's only friend, ever-faithful handyman Willis (Charles S. Dutton). As in any soap, this family has more than its share of scandalous secrets--which gradually break through the surface when one of these people turns up dead.

But unlike any soap, there is an uncommon richness of character in Anne Rapp's script, which carves out memorable niches for even the most peripheral of characters, such as a sheriff's department receptionist (Niecy Nash) with the hots for a suave investigator (Courtney B. Vance). Rapp, Altman, and the well-cast acting ensemble are fully aware of the preposterousness of the twisted goings-on. What isn't preposterous, though, is the craft behind the whole affair, from the precision of Altman's direction to the uniformly fine work by the acting ensemble, whose standouts are the terrific Dutton and Close, the latter displaying a comic gift too rarely seen onscreen.

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