With her drug addiction fast becoming out of control, actress Suzanne Vale is forced, as a condition of her continued studio employment, to move back in with her overbearing mother, a former actress and heavy boozer herself. Someone who has contributed to her very condition.
The not so thinly disguised attempt by actress turned novelist turned screenwriter Carrie Fisher to exorcise some her own personal ghosts, we have is the “fictional” account of her coke-snorting-rehab-shake-up days, afflicted, as she was, vy her troublesome relations with her mother Debbie Reynolds. It’s a real cloth that muffles some of the punch of bother Fisher’s own script, and Mike Nichols bustling but failed attempt to capture the fussiness and fawning of Hollywood itself. Bright and clichéd, the film does indeed resemble a postcard.
Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine, while bearing no resemblance to one another, work hard to create the necessary spiky mother-daughter relationship. It is here where the comedy-drama is trying to capture its drama element, but the film stays as a curio, all their jagged banter feels movie-like, a mockery, rather than tragic. Elsewhere, as we drop-in behind the scenes with various cameos and in-jokes, the film finds no direction or point to make. Isn’t it terrible how fame can crush the individual, it whimpers, before delivering a horribly rigged slice of sentiment for its reconciliatory finale. By then, you realize, the film has no edge at all.
Fine performances in this highly entertaining biopic confirm Mike Nichol's status as the director Hollywood wants to work with.