Cookie's Fortune - C-
Viewed April 2, 1999 at Lincoln Plaza

A been-there done-that parade of Southern eccentricity, Cookie's Fortune is a dull waste of time. For most of its length, it simply doodles around letting us gaze at its cast of the oddballs that always populate the rural South in movies. Only problem is that every one of them has been seen in films and TV for eons, and almost without fail[1], the cast turns in grating one-note performances that manage to completely miss any new nuances to the stock stereotypes. Crap acting from the likes of Chris O'Donnell I expect, but Glenn Close? Julianne Moore, of all people? And Robert Altman really strikes out at the end, when he piles indignity after indignity upon Close's Camille to the point where she goes stark raving bonkers. While Camille is a domineering twit who deserves a come-uppance, the mean-spiritedness of the finale is completely out-of-whack with the film's otherwise genteel sunniness.

[1]Lyle Lovett hasn't advanced much as an actor, but I find his laconic weirdo schtick endearing. Too bad Altman sorta forgets he's in the film. Charles Dutton and Ned Beatty at least manage to escape with some dignity.