Main cast: Sandra Bullock (Gwen Cummings), Viggo Mortensen (Eddie Boone), Dominic West (Jasper), Azura Skye (Andrea), Elizabeth Perkins (Lilly), and Steve Buscemi (Cornell)
Director: Betty Thomas
Gwen Cummings is an alcoholic and a drug addict. But hey, she will tell you that she can control her habit. She just doesn’t want to. One day, she and boyfriend Jasper turn up totally drunk and zoned out at her sister Lilly’s wedding and ruin it totally. The whole farce ends with her being arrested and sent off to rehab.
28 Days is what happens when Postcards from the Edge goes cute. I admit Ms Bullock’s performance as Gwen is winning. Her blooming from confusion to denial (“I don’t belong here! It’s all a mistake!”) to finally acceptance is heartwarming. When she pulls herself together, she does so with gusto that I am really tempted to stand up and cheer.
Dominic West plays Jasper like the suave, rascally boyfriend he is who ends up a threat to Gwen’s self-recovery.
But 28 Days is cute in all the wrong ways. There is no self-effacing humor. Instead, it relies on cartoonish one-dimensional residents of Serenity Glen to draw the laughs. These caricatures are so one-dimensional that I am hard-pressed to think of them taking up any initiative to pee, much less drink and pop pills. Even Gwen’s almost-romance with fallen baseball player Eddie Boone falls flat because Eddie speaks lines as if they were right out of a bad daytime soap, and Viggo Mortensen acts more wooden than tree.
And you know, when Gwen first sees the residents of Serenity Glen chanting and holding hands and screeching Stand by Me, my first impulse is to urge her to flee this Cartoon Hell.
28 Days has heart and a great performance from its lead actress. But it preaches most boringly, and it uses all the wrong things in an attempt to be funny. Ever seen Steve Buscemi act serious? Trust me, that’s a scary sight.