28 Days

The only reason anyone would want to watch 28 Days is Sandra Bullock. Bullock tends to always play a perky, semi-neurotic cutie, and it is beginning to tire people. Look at the "success" of Gun Shy. Depending on the script or the premise of the movie, Sandra comes off as either really funny or really annoying. Here, Susannah Grant's (Erin Brockovich) script magically combines the two in a predictable but mildly enjoyable story. Bullock (Forces of Nature) is Gwen Cummings, party animal. At the beginning of the film, she ruins her sister's wedding by arriving late and drunk, acting like a complete boor, crashing into the tiered cake, hijacking the car, and crashing it into a porch. Cummings ends up at a rehabilitation center in the woods for twenty-eight days (hence the title).

Cummings is completely out of her element. She has no access to cigarettes, alcohol, her painkiller of choice Vicodin, or her equally hedonistic boyfriend Jasper (Dominic West, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Spice World). Instead, she must deal with a motley crew of people all trying to put their lives together. Think Girl, Interrupted with women and men. Her roommate Andrea (Azura Skye, Town & Country, WB's Zoe) is a rehabilitation center veteran, and loves to watch soap operas. Other patients are there for comic relief. Cummings is not serious about her rehabilitation until the real possibility of jail time emerges. The remainder of the movie follows a familiar formula. Cummings and company slowly ride the road to recovery, with some chuckles along the way. Of course, when everything looks dandy, something serious happens, casting a somber mood onto the proceedings, before things cheer up again.

The main problem is that Bullock's transformation is not believable. Maybe because it is so obvious that things will change. Her change for the better is abrupt and forced, and no one in the audience cares at the end. However, it is Bullock who carries the entire film. She is bursting with energy and vitality, both when she is drunk and when she is sober. Although her role is conventional, she injects life into Gwen, making the movie more bearable. Steve Buscemi (Armageddon, Animal Farm) and Viggo Mortenson (A Walk on the Moon, Psycho) waste their time as Cummings' counselor and a co-patient. Gee, will sparks fly between Mortenson and Bullock? Director Betty Thomas (Dr. Doolittle, Private Parts) and Grant do manage to throw in a good line here and there, but the overall mood of the film is mixed. Everyone feels like they are just biding their time before the movie is over.

Haro Rates It: Okay
1 hour, 43 minutes, Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving substance abuse, language, and some sensuality.

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