Lobo's Movie Reviews
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Movie Review: Laurel Canyon

Story: Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. That pretty much says it all. Add a generational clash (think Alex P. Keaton versus his 60's type parents on Family Ties) sexual experimentation, 'the grass (literally) is always greener' next door as subplots and you have Laurel Canyon. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed this very flawed film despite nary a surprise in sight.

Director Lisa Cholodenko (High Art) sets the scene quickly as the conservative adult son and his equally conservative fiancee end up living with his mother, an aging rock 'n'roll record producer and her younger rock 'n' roller boyfriend in her Laurel Canyon home. Yes, the expected occurs when these conservative types are introduced to the very appealing lifestyle of the Mom and her gang. Predictable hi-jinks? You bet! But if you can possibly leave your tsk-tsking, finger wagging, preaching, moralistic crap at home you will still manage to enjoy this film.

Acting: Francis McDormand is terrific (see rentals below) as Jane, the very liberated 60's type Mom. Christian Bale (American Psycho, Empire of the Sun) was fine as the conservative son. I would like to see him in more films. Natasha McElhone (Solaris, The Truman Show) is a little annoying. I think she might have Graves' disease and should have her eyes checked out. Alessandro Nivola was mighty nice on these eyes and I thought his lead singer performance was right on the money. Kate Beckinsale leaves me cold.

Predilection: I enjoyed the 60's.

Critters: None.

Food: A lot of sex, drugs, booze and rock 'n' roll crowded out the need for food. There were lots of empty Chinese food containers and one slice of pizza.

Visual Art: Lots of posters of rock 'n' roll bands and album covers.

Blatant Product Placement: AC/DC, Miller Beer, United Airlines and Xanax (which happens to be my drug of choice whenever I fly).

Soundtrack: Terrific music for this soul who is stuck in a decade long, long ago.

Opening Titles: Minimal white type over the canyons of Los Angeles.

Theater Audience: Packed for a midday, midweek show. All types of film go-ers for this one. The ages ranged from college through AARP. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll seem to be a great equalizer.

Predictability Level: I knew where this one was going early on and just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: If I had any nits to pick, I have forgotten them.

Big Screen or Rental: Francis McDormand is worth the big screen. Check out some of her other great roles in: The Man Who Wasn't There, Wonder Boys, Almost Famous, Paradise Road, Lone Star, Short Cuts, Blood Simple and of course, Fargo (who could ever forget her wonderful portrayal as Marge)?

Length: Under two hours.