If this dysfunctional three-generational drama/comedy is Hollywoods Mothers Day gift, the motion picture business is in worse shape than I thought.
Rachel Wilcox (Lindsay Lohan) is a sassy, seductive, rebellious teen who is exiled to spend the summer with her no-nonsense grandmother Georgia (Jane Fonda) in Hull, Idaho, when Lilly (Felicity Huffman), her alcoholic mother, can no longer cope with her.
Rhyming with dull, Hull is a rural Mormon town where everyone says Good Morning, children are well mannered and teens dont drink, smoke, blaspheme, take drugs or have sex until theyre married. Furthermore, Georgias household runs by strict rules. While she wasnt a good mother to Lilly, Georgia gets a second chance with Rachel, who reveals a secret that can make or break the family.
Lindsay Lohan made headlines when she failed to show up for work and was publicly reprimanded, but shes pitch-perfect. The problem lies in Mark Andrus character-driven script, an unsettling mixture of insight and uncertainty, and while the cynical dialogue can be wryly amusing, its rarely realistic. Garry Marshalls direction is unevenly paced and surprisingly derivative. The scene where people are fighting on Georgias front lawn and she tries to break it up by wetting them down with a garden hose is straight out of Jodie Fosters Home for the Holidays.
Felicity Huffman accesses fragile Lillys confusion, and Jane Fonda shows true grit after her Monster-in-Law debacle. Cary Elwes, Dermot Mulroney and Garrett Hedlund lend oddball male support but, dramatically, the movie is only a step up from a flop. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Georgia Rule is a convoluted, contrived, cliché-ridden 5, evoking Robert Frosts Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.