Eye For Film >> Movies >> Stepmom (1998) Film Review
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.
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