Romantically Challenged
The Other Sister
Review by Ross Anthony

I screened this film at a special sneak preview the weekend of the 20th whose crowd was nearly unanimous in their responses. Filmmakers often make us laugh and cry in the same picture, "The Other Sister" accentuates these extremes. When our audience laughed -- they laughed in a wave. It's unusual for a group of 50 or more people to be tickled at the same time, but we were.

Carla Tate (Lewis), the "special" daughter of Elizabeth (Keaton) returns to the wealthy "Tate Estate" after spending many learning and growing up years in a "dedicated" institution. Momma Tate, combatting her guilt over that abandonment, sets out to make it up to Carla, now a young woman. Momma's smothering-mothering blankets her two other daughters as well. So you can guess mom's reaction when Carla wants to attend a "regular" college, have her own apartment and then (oh-my-gosh) date.

Danny (another "unique" individual) who enjoys riding buses and listening to marching bands, makes the move on Carla. "Will you be my girlfriend?" Carla silently rummages through her purse. Danny worries, "Are you getting the pepper spray?" The two fall in love. In a charming scene, they discuss the possibility of sex -- using manuals to make sure they get it right. "Man, who thought of sex in the first place?" ... "I think it was Madonna." These simple yet fresh responses make the movie sincere and humorous. Occasionally, however, restraint is lost and Carla blurts some predictably "usual" lines that had me wincing in pain. As for Danny and his unexpected quips -- they're completely adorable.

"Maybe we should wait for a holiday to have sex. Holiday's are special," Carla considers. Danny grimaces, "I feel special right now."

Aside from a few sticky moments (mostly in the early part of the film), "The Other Sister" is strong, rich with little details, and charming. But mostly, it impressed me with its hardy ability to tickle and tear its audience.

Side note: This is the third recent "O.S." film, and I liked them all: October Sky, Office Space, The Other Sister. Hmmmmm.

Starring Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Diane Keaton and Tom Skerritt.
Directed by Gary Marshall.
Produced by Mario Iscovich and Alexandra Rose at Touchstone.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:01:43 PDT