Something to Talk About
directed by Lasse Hailstorm
starring Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid
released by Warner Brothers
'Something to Talk About' has been hailed by reviewers as the best picture from Julia Roberts since 'Pretty Woman.' But Roberts' Southern charm is nearly eclipsed by the spectacular performance turned in by Kyra Sedgwick, who plays Roberts' sister. If this movie doesn't make Sedgwick a blockbuster star, nothing ever will.
Roberts stars as Grace King Bichon, a Southern woman with a husband and younger daughter, who works in the family business of raising horses.
Her life plods along in a comfortable, if somewhat dull, fashion, until one day when she spots her husband Eddie (Dennis Quaid) sharing a passionate kiss with another woman outside his office.
But when Grace confronts Eddie--in middle of the street and in her nightgown, no less--saying, "I saw you--at the corner of Fourth and Union," her philandering husband says only, "The wasn't me! Baby, I don't know who you saw...but it wasn't me!" Thus begins a riotous comedy that takes a sharp look at modern relationships and the role that both men and women take in them.
After catching Eddie in the act, Grace takes her daughter Caroline (Haley Aull) and moves in with her sister Emma Rae (Kyra Sedgwick) at the family horse farm. And after Emma Rae sends Eddie the loud-and clear message that he is not in either sister's good graces, Grace proceeds to shock and horrify nearly every member of the town in her efforts to find our just how naughty Eddie has been, and just where her life is now headed.
Imagine if you will a meeting of the local Charity League--where the most progressive debate has been over whether or not to print the names of women donating recipes to the annual cookbook with a "Mrs." in front of them. Enter Grace, who, instead of keeping the group updated on the cookbook's progress, stands up and asks, "Excuse me, but has anyone else here fucked my husband? Because I think I have a right to know."
Grace's upheaval leads to upheaval in the lives of many of the town's couples, including Grace's own parents.
At its heart, however, 'Something to Talk About isn't just a male-bashing movie which rants about the degradation of married women at the hands of their cheating husbands. On the contrary, its script, written by Callie Khouri (best known for authoring the script of "Thelma and Louise') is subtle, and very real.
Between the laughs and outrageous dialogue, it asks both men and women to look inside themselves to discover what direction their lives are headed in, and how much a relationship truly means to their happiness--and their sanity--on an everyday basis.
'Something to Talk About' is, by far, the best picture Roberts has made since 'Pretty Woman.' In many ways, she reprises the roles she has held in other films--as a Southern belle in 'Steel Magnolias'; as a beautiful but tough woman in 'Mystic Pizza'; as a doe-eyed heroine with a rebellious streak in 'Pretty Woman.' Roberts has this role down pat: she plays the scenes where she is hurting with believable emotion, and she raises hell in her small town, all the while struggling with some serious life decisions.
Despite Roberts' fine performance, however, it is impossible to debate the fact that Sedgwick stole the show. Introduced to audiences as Tom Cruise's hippie girlfriend in 'Born on the Fourth of July,' Sedgwick has appeared more recently in 'Heart and Souls' with Robert Downey Jr. and in the popular Generation X movie 'Singles.'
Sedgwick's character was given the best lines in the movie. Unlike the rest of the characters, Emma Rae knows exactly who she is and what she wants. And she breezes through every scene, tossing out off-the-cuff, sardonic zingers with a grace one doesn't often see in today's movies. Sedgwick is no abrasive Roseanne Barr type--she is utterly feminine in short skirts and sheer hose, even as she knees Quaid in the groin and announces, "Well I feel better,"
Also appearing in 'Something to Talk About' are Academy Awardwinning actor Robert Duvall and Sundance Film Festival honoree Gena Rowlands, who play Sedgwick and Roberts' parents.
Rowlands, Duvall, Quaid and Aull, who was chosen for the part in a nation-wide talent search, all turn in strong performances; Quaid should be given recognition for bringing out the likable side of his character, and not allowing Eddie to become a one-dimensional villain-husband.
The strength of 'Something to Talk About' lies in its reality. This movie asks questions that people face everyday. It doesn't allow the characters to take the easy way out, and its wry humor strikes an eerily familiar note. This is not a movie with slapstick comedy or old sitcom jokes--its comic moments are all natural, springing from painfully real situations. This movie is a must.