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28 Days

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: 28 Days

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen
Director: Betty Thomas
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: April 2000
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Elizabeth Perkins, Diane Ladd, Steve Buscemi, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Alan Tudyk, Dominic West

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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

The girl-next-door has grown up. Sandra Bullock takes a brave dramatic leap as a drunk stumbling on her way to sobriety in this contemporary cautionary tale. Written by Susannah Grant ("Erin Brockovich"), the story begins with Sandra reeling around Mahattan in a boozy haze. She's a drinking, drugging party girl and the debauchery never stops, even at the wedding of her sister (Elizabeth Perkins). But when she swipes a limo and crashes it into the front porch of a house, she gets a DUI and 28 days in court-ordered rehab. And that's a real awakening. Defensive and heavily into denial, she first has to be convinced that she is, indeed, an addict. Then she has to want to live a different life, even if that means ditching her good-time boy-friend (Dominic West) who'd like to marry her. But the core of the story takes place in the rehab community, where she meets a motley assortment of characters including her counselor (Steve Buscemi), heroin-addicted roommate (Azura Skye), an irresistible gay German (Alan Tudyk) - who has the best dialogue in the picture - and a testosterone-laden baseball player (Viggo Mortensen). Yet the vision of director Betty Thomas seems unfocused, skipping from slapstick comedy to fuzzy memory flashbacks, from a silly riff on soap operas to a romance that never develops, all within the serious substance-abuse concept. Think of capturing the gallows humor of "Girl, Interrupted." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "28 Days" is a scrambled 7. But Sandra Bullock shines. She's a revelation, delivering a compelling, surprisingly convincing performance after her recent falters in "Hope Floats" and "Forces of Nature." Even when she's bruised and battered, she's beautiful, bringing a haunting sadness to her portrayal.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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