I could take this opportunity to write something mean and rotten about Lindsay Lohan’s current situation and the harm she has done to her career, but the true focus should be on what she is wasting. She is not the greatest actress out there, but she is far from the worst. Every once in a while you can see a flicker of true talent shining through this beautiful woman – whether it’s through her music or performances in movies outside of I Know Who Killed Me and Herbie Fully Loaded. And when that talent is displayed, you begin to wonder, “What the heck this girl is thinking?” She has the world by a string, a burgeoning career and she’s risking it all for a little fun.
While watching Georgia Rule, many comparisons can be made between Rachel Wilcox (Lohan) and the young woman portraying her on screen. She’s an out of control rebel who has been drinking and experimenting with drugs since a young age, and acts out merely to get attention, and some times affection. She’s anything but shy and does not seem to lack confidence in her sexuality in any way. Unfortunately, her mother, Lilly (Felicity Huffman), can no longer handle the teen’s antics and decides to dump her in the one place she swore she’d never return to: her mom’s house in Idaho. And there is only one thing to know about living under Georgia’s (Jane Fonda) roof and that is you live under Georgia’s rule.
Georgia does not redefine her daily schedule, not for herself, her daughter or her granddaughter. Breakfast is at 8 in the morning and anyone who doesn’t make it downstairs in time has to wait until lunch to eat. If you take the lord’s name in vain, you have to wash your mouth out with soap. These are some of Georgia’s rules, and they don’t fly too well with rebellious Rachel – or her alcoholic mother. But, that’s what they all have to live with for at least one summer. Only one summer where the three generations of women, who really don’t seem to know or like one another all that well, can try to bridge those gaps and become closer through family circumstances that need love, caring and the utmost attention.
After watching Georgia Rule, and hearing Fonda constantly remind everyone of a Georgia rule in her house, I decided to make up some of my own rules:
Jarad rule: Get to the point. Director Garry Marshall, who has directed movies such as Beaches and Pretty Woman, runs you through the ringer when trying to get to the core of Rachel’s problems. After breaking the news to the town’s veterinarian (Dermot Mulroney) that her stepfather (Cary Elwes) molested her when she was 14, he goes to Georgia and all hell breaks loose within the family. For almost an hour of this inconsistent R-rated movie, you are put through the debate of whether Rachel is telling the truth or telling one of her bold-face lies. We get it; Rachel lies and gets her points across in an unorthodox fashion. We get it; Lilly and Georgia have a strained relationship. We get it; Rachel and Georgia don’t know one another that well. Instead of dragging us back and forth to see if mother will trust daughter, or grandmother will break through her old-fashioned shell, just get to the point.
Jarad rule: Don’t call this movie a comedy because it does not fall into the category. The performances, as you’d expect from a cast of this caliber, are actually quite good – it’s the script that fails the actors. The portions of the movie that are comedic are not funny, and the dramatic scenes are laughable. The subject matter of pedophilia is not a laughing matter, so trying to inject jokes that seem forced, and place them in at awkward moments is not a good idea. This movie could work a lot better, especially with the cast, with less jokes and more concentration on the troubled relationship between the three women and the abuse of a young teen trying to find her place in the world and her family. These are three fine actresses with a great supporting cast and this could be a great drama – not a great dramedy.
Jarad rule: Rebellious doesn’t mean trashy. The character of Rachel is portrayed as a troubled, rebellious young woman who speaks her mind. While Lohan is supposed to be this big city girl who brings chaos to a quaint town in Idaho, Marshall allows the role to get borderline trashy and slutty – heck, a group of girls driving past Rachel in one of the scenes shouts out, “Slut." Fair game because that is what the character was created to be. Lohan looks beautiful, but at time it feels, and looks, more like she should be playing a small-town hooker, not a girl who is trying to tell her mom that she has been abused as a child and trying to get to the root of why she acts the way she does.
Jarad rule: Get Jane Fonda a new agent. This isn’t as much a rule as it is a demand. After leaving acting behind for 15 years after filming Stanley & Iris in 1990, she came back with Monster-in-Law, which was a monster failure. Then she stars in this film which was doomed from the day it was reported that she was fed up with Lohan during filming for her late-night partying and diva-like behavior. If you’ve seen Fonda’s award-winning work, you know she is above dealing with the antics of a troubled, spoiled youth.
One of the biggest features on this disc is a seven minute gag reel, which is still mind-boggling because the movie isn't funny, and from all I heard about production, no fun was had on set. I find it funny that movies you would expect and want to have a gag reel never do, but films like this decide to put one together – maybe this was done because the director is a jokester, and he realized he shouldn’t have been telling too many jokes in the film he made.
Ten deleted scenes are included, which includes three alternate endings – and all have the option of having Marshall talk about the scenes and why they weren’t chosen for the movie. There is also director commentary for the feature film itself, in case you want to get confused by the movie again and listen to the marble-mouthed director talk over it. Marshall is also the main guy in another one of the features called "On Set with Garry Marshall", where all of the main actors, actresses and producers kiss his butt and call him the greatest director that ever lived, and then allows him to talk about how much he loved the premise of the movie.
The cast and crew also talk about the “fun” process of making the film in "The Making of Georgia Rule." It’s your typical documentary-type feature where they all praise the script, each other and all the other jargon. Yet another interview-ridden feature is "The Women of Georgia Rule", where the actresses are – for the third time on the disc – talking about the movie, their parts and what makes the women of the film unique. The disc also features the theatrical trailer for the movie.
The special features for Georgia Rule are quite redundant, being that you’re given three features that could have been made into one longer version with subsections. They’re also a bit inconsistent, like the movie itself. I also can’t get past the use of the gag reel, or categorizing this movie as a comedy – not when you have a subject matter as hefty as child abuse. While the features can be remotely interesting at times, I am still surprised to hear the word “fun” used as much as it was. The only one who seems to get it is, surprisingly, Lohan, who describes the movie as “very dark.” This is where the inconsistencies lie. The truth is, if the movie was shot as a “very dark” drama, the movie and the special features could have worked together, and the movie would have succeeded on a number of levels – and the laughter would have been silenced, especially when there should have been none to begin with.