Dawson is depressed. He's falling into a depression deeper than the day he had an identity crisis and ripped all the Spielberg posters off his walls. He can't get the image of his failed Dancing With the Stars performance out of his head. There's only one way to cure his pain. And it's a bender in East Hampton.
So, Chloe scares June into thinking there's some sort of natural disaster and she goes running out of the apartment in a dress made of tin foil and straight into a luxury SUV. The Luxury SUV that she soon finds out will be driving her to the Hamptons. See, June doesn't want to leave her bed because she's worried she'll miss a call from a company about a job interview. But then Chloe reminds her that's what makes cell phones so gosh darn amazing – you can get a call from anywhere! So June concedes and on they go to start their benders.
Dawson's getting drunk. His DWTSPTSD (Dancing With the Stars Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is getting out of control and he literally can't stop drinking 64-calories lo-cal beers. June has the gang stop at every farmer's market and goat-milking station (?!) on the way up and boy is she having a blast. This is what her bender means, she thinks. But oh is she mistaken.
They finally arrive at Chloe's "crazy slutty" friend's house, only to find out that she is far from raging form. She's got new twins, for Christ's sake. And not the new boob job twins Chloe had thought. "We're all just one small hole in the condom away before our lives are destroyed," the B ponders. But is this going to put a damper on their bender? Hell no.
June wanders over to a dusty mom-and-pop shop searching for some local jams or something when an Ashton Kutcher-like creature pops out from behind an aisle and introduces himself. "I'm Willoughby," the sir says. June recognizes that this must be the Willoughby who throws all the Hamptons rave parties and is more than thrilled when he hands her an invitation to his soiree of the evening.
Chloe slips into a tight red number, while June borrows the friend's dress with a convenient pill pocket, and they head to town. They can't find Dawson because he is walking aimlessly with beer in hand reflecting on all his failures. He'll catch up with them later. At the party, Chloe can't wait to find out who Willoughby is so she can bang him once and for all. But when he finally reveals himself as Ashton Kutcher a former fat guy who still swims with his T-shirt on Chloe shouts that he's her husband?!?!
Yes, it's true. Back in '05 when sh*t was cray, Chloe and Willoughby were at a wedding party and decided to get hitched. Why not? He's hot, she's hot, they were both drunk. It was perfect. Chloe later read that some tall, skinny man was hit by a car and so she just assumed that she was a widow now. But clearly that was not the case. It is time for them to leave. But wait…
Now, Dawson is wasted. He trips into the bushes and ends up in a backyard where Coffee Shop Guy is. It makes total sense. They both head to the basketball court and start shooting around, spilling their secrets. CSG is all verklempt about his unrequited feelings for June and Dawson, well, he's just bummed he'll never get the chance to make up for his DWTS embarrassment. So, the two head over to Willoughby's to face their fears. A circle forms around them on the dance floor as they deliver a perfect score performance. The performance Dawson had planned for DWTS. CSG then attempts to reveal his love for June, but he literally can't get the words out. He is beyond his bender.
The crew all leaves together, but not before Chloe gets a quickie in with her annual fling Lenny Kravitz, and begins their journey back to the house. June checks her voicemail letting her know that she has an interview first thing in the morning, so she hops back in the SUV and heads home. And guess what? She gets the job! She's so pumped she drives back up the Hamptons after her interview, scones in hand, and celebrates with her posse. And for the first time, we leave our friends on a happy note.
[Image Credit: ABC]
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Jack and Terry (Mark Ruffalo and Laura Dern) are an unhappy couple stifled by years of sullen barely concealed rage Jack's inertia and Terry's drinking. Their friends Hank and Edith (Peter Krause and Naomi Watts) are similarly miserable with each other which they act out through barely concealed affairs. As Jack and Edith begin their illicit tryst they instinctively seek to pair up Hank and Terry partly to make it easier for them to sneak around but mostly to alleviate their own guilt. So the two couples basically substitute one rut for another wheels spinning in the muddy morass of their own confused attempts at adulthood. Through it all their children become a sort of juvenile Greek chorus for their parents making the kinds of precocious pronouncements that are only uttered from the mouths of screenwriters.
As joyless as the movie is to sit through the acting is brilliant. Krause (Six Feet Under) tosses his nonchalance around as an impenetrable shield caring so little that he's impossible to wound. Ruffalo (Collateral) who is the most (and probably the only) human of the quartet provides the only thing approaching a moral center. And even in this company Dern manages to act circles around them. Her Terry is a definitive portrait of the party girl who finally wakes up hung over one morning only to discover she's got two kids to feed a house to clean and a husband who'd rather talk than make love. To her love means always having to admit you're desperate. So it's sad and chilling to watch her begin her affair with Hank only because in her own twisted way she thinks her husband wants her to.
Watts is still the most compulsively watchable actress working today summoning reserves of inner turmoil on cue and yet always making it look effortless. It is interesting to contrast her role here with her work in the far superior and brilliantly written 21 Grams. Both characters are deeply unhappy people trying to make sense of the cruel world. And yet 21 Grams which is much unhappier and more despondent achieves a sublime grace as each character discovers their humanity in their desperation. In this movie you just hope that at some point the four main characters will jump in an SUV that has faulty brakes.
The two men are college professors and the movie makes the most of that milieu with flirtatious students college bars and long leafy runs providing the backdrop. But most of the movie's plotting feels like its been done on graph paper. Jack and Terry make love. Cut to Hank and Edith making love. Jack talks to his daughter. Cut to Edith talking to her daughter. The rhythm of this duet becomes numbing. The movie is directed by John Curran an Australian making his first American feature. But the impetus for the story comes from screenwriter Larry Gross adapting two short stories by Andre Dubus who wrote In the Bedroom. Dubus' movie characters are all variations on the same emotionally stifled yuppie theme although In the Bedroom saved itself by turning into an old-fashioned revenge melodrama. We Don't Live Here Anymore is one of those movies and there have been oodles where the characters are so inert that the suspense if one can call it suspense is who will act first to break the circle of despair. And so the children of course are trotted out as pawns on the chessboard forcing the kings and queens to choose. I don't know which is more depressing: that this movie cliché has been used so often or that there are undoubtedly thousands of couples in the world who act exactly like this.
Welcome to the British Empire at the turn of the century. Meet a group of jolly lads who are about to be shipped off to the Sudan to fight for queen and country. Say hello to Lieutenant Harry Faversham (Heath Ledger). He's a chicken--in the cowardly sense not the egg-laying feathered sense--and when he resigns his commission with the British army on the eve of his regiment's departure for the Sudan his friends and fiancée give him four white feathers to tell him they know he's a coward. Thirty minutes into the film we don't know exactly why Harry is afraid to go to war or why the British are in the Sudan in the first place. Two long hours later we remain in the dark. We have however seen Harry trot off to the Sudan to overcome the shame of his cowardice pose as an Arab and try to protect the members of his former regiment in secret. We've seen Harry protect an enslaved native princess from the overseer's whip. We've seen him save lives in the film's big battle scene where the British greatly outnumbered fight valiantly and with requisite stiff upper lip against the "Mohammedan fanatics" who set upon them in true Braveheart fashion. Since all these events happened way back then "over there " apparently we don't need any more historical context than that and if we do need it we sure don't get it.
The sweeping saga of The Four Feathers which has been remade no less than five times theatrically (in 1915 1921 1929 1939 and 2002) and at least once for TV (1977) makes huge demands on the actors: Ledger must go from a polished drawing-room charmer to a scruffy desert nomad and back again while Wes Bentley who plays Jack Durrance Harry's best friend and constant champion (no feathers from him) must start as a heroic young officer and evolve into a wounded veteran of foreign wars. It requires a versatility that both young actors strive to fulfill but unfortunately they're still a little too wet behind the ears to pull it off. Ledger comes closest but his drawing room persona lacks charisma and his love scenes with Hudson are completely ridiculous. Once the action moves to the desert though it's clear why Ledger is on the brink of superstardom. He really sinks his pearly whites into the character even executing a pretty amazing jump onto a fast moving horse (either that or the CGI is much better than average). Bentley on the other hand carries the film's early scenes but a lackluster finish turns the strong character he'd begun to build into a wispy cliché. The most effective performance comes from the oft unsung Michael Sheen (Othello Wilde). As the feather-giving soldier Trench Sheen shows more subtle skill than the rest of the cast as he goes from a jolly lad to a broken prisoner of war. Djimon Hounsou is also good as Abou Fatma a former slave who befriends Harry in the desert and helps him protect his friends. Kate Hudson is hardly worth mentioning as Harry's love interest Ethne; she's barely there in this picture.
Four Feathers Four Feathers how do I hate thy plot holes? Let me count the ways. First of all there's the gaping maw in the movie's entire premise--Harry's cowardice goes completely unexplained from start to finish. In fact when Abou asks him why he resigned his commission (Abou though born and raised in the Sudan was a scout for a British general and therefore conveniently speaks English) Harry responds "I just--there are many reason why. Mostly I was afraid." We know that mate. Then there's that pesky fourth feather. The first three come in a nice little box nestled in with three calling cards belonging to Harry's fellow soldiers. The next time we see the feathers in Harry's hand though there are four of them. We find out about 45 minutes later that the final feather came from Ethne. Was a potentially stirring scene lost on the cutting room floor? We may never know. Plot holes aside there are some beautiful painterly shots that show director Shekhar Kapur's promise but there are some appallingly amateurish moments too especially the extreme close-ups of Ledger for no apparent reason and a scene that has Hudson speaking key lines while she's out of focus and in the background of the shot.