“Hope Floats” DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

1/04/2011 Posted by Admin

“Hope Floats”

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Forest Whitaker. Written by Steven Rogers. Running time: 114 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements).

By Christopher Smith

“Hope Floats” begins promisingly enough.

On a national television talk show reminiscent of “Ricki Lake,” Birdee Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) stands off-stage awaiting what she believes will be a cosmetic makeover. She gets a makeover, all right, but it has nothing to do with cosmetics. Indeed, on that stage is her best friend, played icily by Rosanna Arquette, who bluntly informs Birdee that she’s been having a torrid affair with Birdee’s husband.

Stunned and hurt, Birdee, a former Corn Queen, takes flight, dumping her husband, packing up her daughter, and running home to Smithville, Texas, where she hopes to rebuild her life with her taxidermist mother, Ramona (Gena Rowlands).

All of this sounds well and good, but director Whitaker, an actor himself, weighs down his film with too many “moments,” many of which are so dull and long-winded, the film often feels as if it’s stuck in a great big Texas rut.

In an effort to lift the film to higher ground, Whitaker hauls in Harry Connick Jr. as Birdee’s love interest, but their romance, while sweet, is contrived--and it never generates the necessary heat to truly ignite interest.

Still, “Hope Floats” isn’t a total wash. As Birdee comes to terms with her Corn Queen past, the film does find the measure of honesty it needed all along to keep it afloat.

Too bad the script wasn’t tossed that same life preserver from the start.

Grade: C+

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