Main cast: Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich), Albert Finney (Ed Masry), Aaron Eckhart (George), Marg Helgenberger (Donna Jensen), Cherry Jones (Pamela Duncan), Veanne Cox (Theresa Dallavale), Tracey Walter (Charles Embry), and Peter Coyote (Kurt Potter)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
This movie is not about Erin Brockovich. It’s about her breasts. That’s right, Wonderbra must have plunked a large share in the production costs, for the most screentime anyone – anything – ever had in this TV Movie of the Week is Julia Roberts’s cleavage. It also doesn’t help that our leading lady just can’t play anyone but herself.
This is supposedly based on a true story about how Erin Brockovich discovers that the corporate scums of Pacific Gas & Electric are polluting the pristine environment of the local area and giving everyone cancer. She then bands everyone together for a rousing lawsuit that ends with the biggest financial settlement of its kind in history (ah, fiction – in real life, the locals are still wondering where the hell their money is). Along the way, our struggling, jobless single mommy finds love in George the friendly biker and nanny.
The movie starts out great, but ultimately the whole thing degenerates into a Hallmark sappy underdog-wins crap. A Celine Dion anthem wouldn’t be out of place here. The story’s biggest flaw is its too-far adoration of Erin Brockovich. She rarely progresses beyond a one-note character, a small mass of screamy, shrieky tantrums in tight-fitting tank tops and Wonderbras. Elements taken right out of a bad feminist tract are thrown in nilly-willy and quickly abandoned. Oh, Erin struggles so hard to be a single mommy, but when things get sticky, the kids are quickly thrown out of the picture. Everything is Erin, but at the end of the day, no one seems able to tell me who Erin actually is.
Erin Brockovich is nothing more than a star vehicle in disguise. It is too fluffy, too adulatory of its main star, and ultimately, lacks substance. It’s like taking a stroll down a trip where everyone’s a-posturing and everything is just fake. Fluff, really.