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Postcards from the Edge (1990)

Having a wonderful time, wish I were here.

Directed by:

Mike Nichols

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 101 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

‘Postcards from the Edge’ is one of those movies which is just that little bit too smug and self-aware to be completely likable. Penned by Carrie Fisher (she bases her screenplay on her semi-autobiographical book of the same name), it’s the slightly-too-knowing tale of a drug-addled actress (Meryl Streep) whose only hope of finding work after checking out of rehab is to move in with her ageing celebrity mum (Shirley MacLaine).

As you can probably guess, all sorts of mishaps and set-backs occur from there on in, with Suzanne (that’s Streep) ending up battling not only against her addictions, but also against the way in which mummy-dearest is gradually driving her round the bend. It turns out that Mumsie, you see, has a few problems of her own – namely a tendency to hit the bottle with alarming regularity, a habit she brushes off with the entertaining if deluded observation: “I’m not an alcoholic, I just drink like an Irish person.”

It’s a film with some nice touches, and wonderful performances from the two leads, but it’s also the subject of some grossly uneven work on the part of both Fisher and director Mike Nichols. What starts off feeling like an intelligent drama tackling the difficulties of addiction in Hollywood soon takes the easy way out and transforms into a not-very-funny comedy. That’s a shame, because the drink-and-drug-fuelled lives of Tinseltown’s rich and famous are a subject we often read about in the papers, but rarely has it been dealt with comfortably on-screen. This seemed like it might have been a perfect opportunity to put that right but – for want of a better term – it loses its bottle.

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It's Got: Dennis Quaid, Richard Dreyfuss and Gene Hackman all appearing in the cast-list but barely having to do anything – clearly someone’s called in a few favours there.

It Needs: To stick to its guns.

DVD Extras Trailers, filmographies and an audio commentary from Carrie. Version reviewed Postcards From The Edge [1990] from Amazon UK or from Amazon.com DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

28 Days

Summary

Just like a real-life postcard, you’ll view it once, think it’s nice enough, and then probably forget all about it.

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