28 Days

on April 14, 2000 by Mike Kerrigan
Make no mistake about it-Sandra Bullock is a movie star. She can open a film ("While You Were Sleeping," "The Net"); she can enhance mediocre material ("Forces of Nature," "Hope Floats"); she can even shine in a muti-talented cast with a powerful script ("A Time to Kill"). She has a smile that could light up Pittsburgh, undeniable sex appeal, and yet is just the girl that you would be proud to take home to Mom. So what the hell is she doing in the fetal position on a cold tile floor fighting off drug-withdrawal-induced sweats in her new movie? Oh, and that's when she's not unflatteringly head-first in a toilet bowl retching up a lifetime of self-abuse. Well, folks, she's acting. Because apart from being a movie star, Sandra Bullock is one pretty damned good actress.

And never have her talents been more in evidence than in this cautionary tale. Sandra plays Gwen Cummings, a successful New York writer with a huge appetite for life, including substances legal and not so legal. After making a complete mess of her sister's wedding--destroying the cake was just the start of it--she is ordered to jail or rehab. She reluctantly settles on the cure and swiftly becomes a less than model patient.

The meat of the movie is Bullock's journey through recovery along with an assortment of oddball, and occasionally tragic, characters. Writer Susannah Grant ("Erin Brockovich") and director Betty Thomas ("Private Parts") keep the story rattling along by injecting humor at all possible points, and for the most part this works. However, occasionally they push too hard and we are in the middle of a bad sit-com.

There is a strong supporting cast, with a standout Steve Buscemi as the straight-arrow counselor who seems to have been addicted to everything. But this is Bullock's film. It is a gutsy performance and she creates a totally believable character. Starring Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Betty Thomas. Written by Susannah Grant. Produced by Jenno Topping. A Columbia release. Comedy/drama. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving substance abuse, language and some sensuality. Running time: 100 min

Tags: Starring Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West, Steve Buscemi. Directed by Betty Thomas, Written by Susannah Grant, Produced by Jenno Topping, Columbia, Comedy drama

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