Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The myth of the wicked stepmother goes pancake-shaped when personified by Julia Roberts. She's too darned nice. Not to mention pretty. At first, you think Chris Columbus is going to take the subject seriously, but when Susan Sarandon receives bad news from the cancer clinic, he skids on treacle and is lost.

Ed Harris and Sarandon have two children, 12-year-old Anna (prickly spoilt bitchette) and seven-year-old Ben (cute irrepressible japester). After the marriage breakup, they share access.

Copy picture

When fashion photographer Roberts moves in with Harris, Anna goes out of her way to make life difficult. Ben doesn't actively despise her, despite always being late for stuff. She knows the lyrics to groovy Seventies hits and that's kinda cool. The slush factor washes away the film's better qualities, replacing them with diluted argument and squirmable emotion. The grown-ups try hard (Roberts and Sarandon are exec producers) to make it happen, forgetting Columbus' famous sweet tooth and allowing the movie to dissolve into "Death Is A Many Splendoured Thing".

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
Share this with others on...
Stepmom packshot
A terminally ill divorcee has to come to terms with her kid's new stepmother.
Amazon link

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: Gigi Levangie

Starring: Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, Jena Malone, Liam Aiken, Lynn Whitfield, Darrell Larson, Mary Louise Wilson, Andre B. Blake, Russel Harper, Jack Eagle

Year: 1998

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database: