.

Anywhere But Here

Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman

Directed by Wayne Wang
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
November 12, 1999

Her underwritten role and over-elaborate makeup as Queen Amidala in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace hid the talent and beauty of Natalie Portman. Now, as Ann August — a teenager trying to stabilize her divorced, wildcat mom, Adele (Susan Sarandon) — Portman, 18, brings her light out from under George Lucas' bushel. She is smart, funny, luminous and rigorously unsentimental.

Would that the same could be said of her tear-jerking movie. Anywhere but Here, directed by Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) from a 1986 best seller by Mona Simpson, is formula mother-brat stuff, treading territory more indelibly marked by Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Gavin O'Connor's upcoming Tumbleweeds. It's only the deft teamwork of Portman and Sarandon that keeps triteness at bay.

What there is of a plot takes Ann and Adele from small-town Wisconsin to the promised land of California, where Adele figures Ann can become a star. Never mind that Ann doesn't want to act or leave her pals, especially her horny cousin Benny (the appealing Shawn Hatosy). And never mind that Adele's teaching job barely covers the rent on a tiny Beverly Hills apartment.

Adele misguidedly pins her hopes on Josh (Hart Bochner), a hunk orthodontist. "He's more than a dentist," she tells Ann. "He's writing a screenplay." Ann handles her sexual awakening with a twist: She makes her boyfriend, Peter (Corbin Allred), strip. But then the comedy gives way to tears, buckets of them, and you start wishing you were anywhere but here — preferably at last year's far funnier Slums of Beverly Hills.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Vans”

    The Pack | 2006

    Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com