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Thursday, February 17, 2000
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Volume 65, Issue 97

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Hanging Up rings bitter sweet, film's focus severely mundane


Hanging Up

Columbia Pictures
Starring: Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, Diane Keaton, Walter Matthau
In theaters Friday, Feb. 18
Rating: PG-13

C


By Tanya Hirsch
Daily Cougar Staff

It's hard to imagine our lives without the fruits of modern technology, especially the telephone.

Cell phones have invaded the work place, schools and theaters, disrupting and interrupting our day-to-day lives. For so many of us, young or old, the telephone serves as an umbilical cord attaching us to our friends and families 24/7.


Melinda Sue Gordon/Columbia Pictures


Sisters Maddy (Lisa Kudrow, left), Eve (Meg Ryan, center) and Georgia (Diane Keaton) get a hilarious surprise when they pay an unannounced visit on their father (Walter Matthau) in Hanging Up.

Sometimes we need to pause and take a breather from our hectic lives. This is the central theme of the new movie Hanging Up.

Presented by Columbia Pictures and produced by sisters Nora and Delia Ephron (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail), Hanging Up portrays the love, life and tribulations that the three Mozell sisters deal with, primarily over the telephone.

As the tagline says, the sisters make light of situations despite their hang-ups. Meg Ryan (You've Got Mail) plays big-hearted Eve, the underappreciated middle sister who carries the weight of a job, a son and a marriage -- the quintessential modern woman's dilemma.

Not to mention she carries the added pressure of admitting her ailing father (Walter Matthau) into a Los Angeles hospital. Her sisters depend on her to make all the necessary arrangements, and they take her generosity for granted so much that it's sickening.

It's not surprising that she becomes fed up with the tremendous pressure and craziness and performs the "disconnecting" ritual.

Quirky-grinned, untidy-haired Ryan is very endearing in her role as Eve and gives a sound performance.

The oldest sister, Georgia (Diane Keaton), is the most successful. She is selfish and "disconnected" when it comes to dealing with the reality of their father's impending death. Her whole life she has been driven and has always gotten what she has wanted -- quite a depressor for Eve and youngest sister Maddy.

Academy Award winner Diane Keaton has performed in a long string of movies, including Father of the Bride I and II and First Wives Club.

Emmy Award-winning actress Lisa Kudrow (Analyze This) stars as Maddy, the pretentious, confused baby sister who has always been in Georgia's shadow and longs for her own success.

The tragic scenario in Hanging Up is that their mother takes a back seat in their lives. This absence makes Maddy depend on her older sister as a mother figure for support and comfort.

Unfortunately, Kudrow's role oddly resembles her character Phoebe in NBC's hit series Friends. This likeness makes you wonder if she can actually act or if she is just playing herself.

Their father, Lou Mozell (Matthau), is crazy at times. However, his antics are cute and funny, and the audience will love him. He is a reminder of one's own father or grandfather, and despite his pedantic personality, it's not surprising that Eve and her sisters have such a deep love for him.

Matthau has had a distinguished career of more than 50 years in the entertainment business. The box-office results of his most recent films I.Q. and Grumpy Old Men prove he still draws the masses.

Hanging Up is light and heart warming, with occasional tear-jerking scenes, but the persistent ringing of that irritating telephone is highly aggravating.

This is a sweet, bonding, sisterhood kind of film. (Beware, guys!) The acting is good and a few scenes with Matthau are really funny. However, the film focuses on severely mundane situations between the sisters and becomes quite pretentious. The result is a mediocre film.
 

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