out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Casa De Los Babys
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Marcia Gay Harden|
Director: John Sayles
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: September 2003
Genres: Comedy, Drama
|*Also starring: ||Mary Steenburgen, Lili Taylor, Daryl Hannah, Susan Lynch, Rita Moreno, Bruno Bichir, Angelina Pelaez, Vanessa Martinez, Juan Carlos Vives, Miguel Rodarte, David Hevia||
Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4
John Sayles's CASA DE LOS BABYS is a preachy story about six neurotic, American
women: Skipper (Daryl Hannah), Nan (Marcia Gay Harden), Gayle (Mary
Steenburgen), Leslie (Lili Taylor), Jennifer (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Eileen
(Susan Lynch). They are all getting cranky, having spent a couple of months in
hotel rooms while waiting for the bureaucrats of some unnamed Latin American
country to approve their adoption of local babies.
The movie, which might work as a play, has two modes. In one, it keeps
lecturing us about the pervasive poverty in this Spanish speaking country. The
poorest kids steal out of necessity, and the slightly better off ones have to
go to school wearing shoes that are too tight. We are provided with example
after example in order to insure that we get the point. The pedantic picture
also labors to show how these women, all but one of whom speak basically no
Spanish, don't have a clue as to the dire situations of the local citizens.
The second, and much more effective mode, has the women engage in some
insightful and frequently funny dialog. Taylor, as the only single
mother-to-be, gets the lion's share of the script's best lines. "I've got sox
older than you", she says in a put-down line to a young hunk who tries hitting
on her at the beach. "I figure that if [my daughter] doesn't absolutely
despise me by the eighth grade, I'm ahead of the game," Leslie tells Gayle.
And, of the local television trash, she says to one of the other women, "You
don't need the words to watch TV. Stupidity is the universal language."
If you weren't aware that Americans have a much higher standard of living than
Latin Americans or if you just like being entertained with some witty dialog,
CASA DE LOS BABYS is a reasonable choice. On the other hand, if you're looking
for something truly worthy of being called a Sayles movie, just rent one of his
older ones like LONE STAR.
CASA DE LOS BABYS runs 1:36. The film is in English and in Spanish with
English subtitles. It is rated R for "some language and brief drug use" and
would be acceptable for teenagers.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes
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