All Sexed Up with Nowhere to Go

    Ahuffy, whored-out Rachel (Lindsay Lohan) is left by her equally huffy mother (Felicity Huffman) in a fit of frustration on an empty highway en route to Rachel’s summer stay with her grandmother. First thing: How did Rachel get out of a moving car in the middle of nowhere? And, secondly, how in the hell could her mother leave her? Such is the thoughtless logic and drama of “”Georgia Rule,”” a film which doesn’t actually take place in, nor have anything to do with, the state, but is rather a reference to the film’s cantankerous grandmother, Georgia, played by “”Hanoi Jane”” Fonda, now comfortably easing into her Disney-esque role of the elder sage.

    Courtesy of Universal

    So begins another paint-by-numbers, fish-out-of-water drama, as sexpot Rachel adjusts roughly to small town life in Idaho, where everyone has a quirky “”howdy-do”” attitude. You know, just like real life. In she jumps with her seductive stares and sexual come-ons, all completely foreign to the boys. No sooner does she arrive than does she go down on the local Mr. Brawny long-locks Mormon (Garrett Hedlund) and quickly earns the moniker “”slut”” from the girls.

    Quickly we learn the reason for Rachel’s exile to Idaho – she enjoys booze and LSD liberally, she’s a chronic liar and your typical spoiled, bitchy daughter who got into trouble the summer before college. After looking at recent images of Lohan nose-deep in blow, it’s not too hard to believe. But we also learn of a possible cause for this wild behavior: Rachel claims that her stepfather (Cary Elwes, in the oddest of casting) raped her continuously between the ages of 12 and 14.

    For the rest of the film, we’re left to figure out whether this allegation is true. Huffman, shocked at the news, returns to Idaho, and Houdinis up bottle after bottle of vodka, whiskey and other hard liquor. Apparently she has a drinking problem. Meanwhile, a potentially solid subplot between Rachel and her new boss, Simon (Dermot Mulroney), tries to establish some meaningful father-daughter relationship, but turns soft and nearly incestuous, rather than full of emotion and insight. This whole time Fonda sits in the background; her matriarchal doling out of philosophy (hence the “”rules””) would make much more sense if her “”rules”” were used more than they are referenced.

    Trying to decipher fact from fiction, Lohan tells lie after lie to the point where we just don’t care about the truth anymore. She tells her mom she was raped, then seconds later claims it was a lie. And so it goes for nearly 45 minutes. Subjects like this are heady material for any film, but the seemingly random execution almost makes light of the whole situation. Director Garry Marshall (“”Pretty Woman””) tries to punctuate angst-filled scenes with attempts at cutesy humor – which drop dead – and redundant camera angles to show us how distraught our heroines really are.

    Good chick flicks succeed primarily because they allow a road to salvation for their women. Here, Lohan and Huffman seem doomed to their own follies, while the good men remain depressed and the bad men get away scot-free. The characters develop arbitrarily, acting based on what the plot wants them to do instead of following a natural progression.

    The end, in which the big revelations should occur, wastes four honest performances on a scene where plausibility takes a holiday, especially when almost no changes have occurred at all. Actually, Lohan’s Rachel hardly goes through any revelation, she’s just a little less bitchy. And Huffman’s epiphany comes about by the most absurd of dialogue, fabricating a character no normal human would ever piece together. Real people are much smarter than that, and they’re much smarter than anything this movie has to offer.

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