The Next Best Thing

Cross an episode of Friends with an issue-of-the-week movie about gay parenthood and you have this glossy vanity project, whose principal purpose seems to be recording for posterity Madonna's current interests, including yoga, affecting an English accent, bindi, babies, gay men in general and Rupert Everett in particular — the only thing missing is...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Cross an episode of Friends with an issue-of-the-week movie about gay parenthood and you have this glossy vanity project, whose principal purpose seems to be recording for posterity Madonna's current interests, including yoga, affecting an

English accent, bindi, babies, gay men in general and Rupert Everett in particular — the only thing missing is Kaballah. L.A. woman Abbie (Madonna) is a single yoga instructor surrounded by glowing young mothers accessorized with adorable tots. Unfortunately, her boyfriend (Michael Vartan) is

a world class jerk with one foot out the door; if only she could meet a man like Robert (Everett), who's funny, loyal, smart, creative and handsome. Sorry, make that a straight man like Robert, who's her best friend, confidante and biggest fan, but definitely not husband material.

Complications ensue when Abbie and Robert get blind drunk and wind up in bed together, resulting in Abbie's pregnancy. She and Robert decide to go the non-traditional family route, parenting little Sam (Malcolm Stumpf) together until Abbie meets a fabulous man (Benjamin Bratt) who happens to live

in New York. The movie's biggest asset is Everett, who's effortlessly witty (a fact to which Hollywood's eyes were apparently opened by MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING) and a solid actor in the bargain, even if he's not entirely at ease with broad comedy. Its greatest liability, unfortunately, is

Madonna. Frankly, it's hard to reconcile the fabulous, sexy, beautiful and wonderful-in-every-way Abbie the movie's supporting characters keep talking about with the person on-screen; Madonna's biceps are daunting, but otherwise she looks haggard and reads her lines with pursed-lipped petulance.

She's a bit of a conundrum, a star without star quality. And maybe we're just thick, but what does the movie's leitmotif, Don McLean's "American Pie," have to do with anything?

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Cross an episode of Friends with an issue-of-the-week movie about gay parenthood and you have this glossy vanity project, whose principal purpose seems to be recording for posterity Madonna's current interests, including yoga, affecting an English accent,… (more)

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