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Movie Review: Running With Scissors

Alternate Title: When Bad Films Happen to Good Books

Story: Oh dear, where to begin? The good news is that I liked Augusten Burroughs' memoir about his childhood. The bad news is just about everything else in this lost in translation effort to the big screen. All the charm was sucked out of the book and squashed when it fell onto the big screen.

Burroughs was raised in a terribly dysfunctional home and ultimately was taken in by the family of his mother's psychiatrist, the Finch'. It turns out that the Finch' are even crazier than the Burroughs'. In the book there was a certain charm, wit, sense of hope and a glimmer of quirkiness on every page. On screen, it becomes one flat, senseless vignette after another. If you did not read the book, I cannot imagine what you might think of this screenplay.

Director and writer Ryan Murphy (TV's Nip/Tuck) thuds with his first effort onto the big screen. The film meanders, flits, crashes and burns. Stay away.

Acting: I have always thought that acting crazy in a film is not that hard to do so I can't praise any of the lunatic performances in this film. However, I found that Joseph Cross, as Augusten, might be an interesting actor to watch as his career blooms. Annette Bening, as the loony mom, might as well have been in a monologue. She connected with no other character. The same can be said for Gwyneth Paltrow, Brian Cox and Joseph Fiennes. Evan Rachel Wood showed some moxie in trying to break out of this awful movie and the part of Mother Finch was much expanded from the book which gave Jill Clayburgh something to do.

Predilection: I liked the book.

Critters: An abused cat named Freud and a lovely golden retriever.

Food: I was frightened to try to see what these people were eating in their filthy kitchen.

Blatant Product Placement: Hamburger Helper

Soundtrack: Forced 70's and 80's tunes.

Opening Titles: The theater I saw this in was having some technical glitches and if there were opening titles, we missed them.

Theater Audience: There were about twenty silent viewers in the theater with me.

Weather: The weather was always nice.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: It should have been quirky, but it wasn't.

Squirm Scale: I always squirm when people mistreat animals.

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch after only 20 minutes. Not a good sign at all.

Oscar Worthy: a resounding NO

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. Read the book.

Length: 90 minutes.