Here's to you Mrs. Robinson... One of everybody's "Friends,"
David Schwimmer, stars in this dull retread of THE GRADUATE. He's
definitely no Dustin Hoffman, and he can't carry a movie either. The
supporting cast -- Gwenyth Paltrow, Barbara Hershey and the
always-underused Michael Rapaport -- do their best, but a ship with
Schwimmer as skipper will always sink whether the cargo is talented or
not. Add in some bad writing and direction that can't tell if it wants to
be bold or conventional and you're ready to bury THE PALLBEARER six feet
Now that I've thoroughly trashed the movie, I'll recount the main
plot to you -- a young man has an affair first with a much-older woman,
then realizes it's a younger woman he wants to spend time with. The main
difference is that Paltrow isn't Hershey's daughter, not to mention that
Hershey is actually looking good, unlike Anne Bancroft in THE GRADUATE
(sorry, Mel). I know Hershey's had plastic surgery out the wazoo, but if
any twentyish guy was asked to "console" her in the manner she
suggests, I don't imagine he'd offer too many objections.
But even if it isn't a direct plot-lift from the 1967 Hoffman
classic, they steal enough from another film to be guilty of
double-plagiarism. Here's how the movie begins -- a group of old friends
get together over the death of a friend and then proceed to bond over a
period of several days. It's the Generation X version of THE BIG CHILL
and again, there's only difference. This time, the dead guy isn't Kevin
Costner but some guy none of the friends can seem to remember. But
Hershey, the greiving mother, tells Schwimmer that as the best friend of
the departed, he should be the one to read the eulogy.
Can you see the situation comedy ramifications of such a thing?
Poor Ross doesn't even remember this guy and he has to deliver a
eulogy about him. He looks in his old yearbook and all he can find on the
dead guy is that he was in the chess club. So he's pretty much screwed,
and without any help from Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe.
I have to mention the other five "Friends" because Schwimmer is
completely annoying without any of them to counteract his whining. That
show has gone downhill too but looks like classic comedy next to this
Copyright © 1997 Andrew Hicks