Hanging Up

Oh, joy — it's the Ephron girls, Nora and Delia, doing the THREE SISTERS bit. Trust us — Chekov (playwright, not STAR TREK character) did it much better. The sisters' aging dad, Lou (Walter Matthau), is a stand-in for the Ephrons' real-life screenwriter father; he's portrayed (apparently accurately) as an amusing, alcoholic pain in the butt who's...read more

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Reviewed by Steve Simels
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Oh, joy — it's the Ephron girls, Nora and Delia, doing the THREE SISTERS bit. Trust us — Chekov (playwright, not STAR TREK character) did it much better. The sisters' aging dad, Lou (Walter Matthau), is a stand-in for the Ephrons'

real-life screenwriter father; he's portrayed (apparently accurately) as an amusing, alcoholic pain in the butt who's finally dying after years of crying wolf. Oldest daughter Georgia (Diane Keaton, who directed) is an emotionally distant hard-charger who edits a glossy woman's magazine named

after herself (Frances Lear, anyone?). Middle sister Eve (Meg Ryan) is Daddy's girl, who's stressed beyond belief by the responsibility of caring for her father and resentful that her sisters aren't helping more; Maddy (Lisa Kudrow) is the flaky youngest sibling, an ex-punk turned semisuccessful

TV star. All three actresses do yeoman work, and it's undeniably nice to see Matthau playing opposite somebody other than Jack Lemmon for a change. Nonetheless, this is essentially a glib soap opera whose main characters are two-dimensional cliches used as clotheslines on which to hang

sitcom-level jokes. Worse, the dramatically crucial (in an ersatz psychological way) scene in which Matthau destroys his 5-year-old nephew's birthday party is so embarassingly melodramatic and exploitative that it all but sinks the film on its own.

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