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She's The One  

Starring: Edward Burns, Maxine Bahns, Cameron Diaz, Mike McGlone, John Mahoney, Jennifer Aniston Directed by: Edward Burns Written by: Edward Burns Rated R Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

rancis Fitzpatrick (Mike McGlone) is in a dilemma. He is married to Renee (Jennifer Aniston), a sweet, tender, caring, funny, attractive woman, but feels the marriage is no longer fulfilling. He explains to Renee that their marriage is going through a "down cycle" and that's why he is no longer interested in making love. But the real reason is that he is currently involved in an affair with the beautiful Heather (Cameron Diaz). So what is she like? She confesses early on that she sleeps around, treats him like dirt and years earlier was actually engaged to Francis' brother, Mickey (Edward Burns). The obvious question is: Why on earth would Francis want to leave Renee for Heather? There is absolutely no reason. My guess is one of two things: either a) love makes us do the most insane things sometimes, or b) Francis is simply a moron. I think the movie wants us to believe the first reason, but as I was watching it, I kept leaning toward the second one.

"Why?" That's a question that I found myself asking quite a bit while viewing "She's the One", Edward Burns' follow-up film to the critically acclaimed "The Brothers McMullen". His first film dealt with three brothers who had to do some soul-searching to find out what being in love really meant to them. This film treads the same ground, but lacks the authenticity and life of the characters in "Brothers". In "She's the One", writer/director Burns deals with class struggles. We get the pompous, arrogant Francis who has made a good living working on Wall Street. We get Francis' older brother, Mickey; a cab driver who tells his father (John Mahoney) that he is happy right where he is in life. Of course, we know that's not really true. He is still feeling the effects of the broken engagement to Heather. That's until a beautiful young woman named Hope (Maxine Bahns) steps into his cab. They have a short conversation, soon after which she asks him to drive her to New Orleans to a friend's wedding. Within twenty-four hours, the two are married. The film follows the brothers as they go through the ups and downs of their romantic escapades.

One of the true pleasures of movies is when you forget you're watching a movie and feel you're watching the lives of real individuals unfold right in front of you. "The Brothers McMullen" was like that. Sadly, this film isn't. The developments of the characters feel like nothing more than plot mechanisms, and very little of it makes sense. I questioned earlier why Francis would want to leave Renee for Heather. The only reason seems to be to give Francis and Mickey something to argue about in the film's third act. And why does Mickey care, anyway? Does he still have feelings for Heather? Would he feel like a failure if his brother ended up with his former fiancee? Instead of trying to answer those questions, we get a silly scene where their father takes the two men outside, puts boxing gloves on them, and tells them to "duke it out". As an Irishman myself, I'm beginning to grow tired of those stereotypes where the Irish don't know how to settle anything except with their fists.

The relationship between Mickey and Hope isn't very involving, either. The movie doesn't spend enough time with the two characters to get us interested in them. Instead, the film spends more of it's time on the character of Francis, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. There is nothing even remotely interesting about him. Matters aren't helped any by a stilted performance from Mike McGlone. Watching him, I felt like I was in an acting class where the instructor told another student to give his best impression of a twit. His performance feels like an imitation, which is sad, because he was one of the best elements in "The Brothers McMullen". Here, the film collapses all around him. Perhaps the nicest element in the movie is Jennifer Aniston, although while she's playing some sweet and caring, she isn't written as being very intelligent. It's pretty obvious from Francis' cold and distant attitude that he could very well be having an affair, yet the Aniston character is pretty much clueless until she's told outright. Instead of having suspicions about what might be going on, we're given a corny sequence where she thinks he must be a homosexual. The film stretches it for comedic value, but stretches it WAY too far, I think.

After Burns' wonderful debut film, was I expecting too much from "She's the One"? Maybe. But it seems to me that when you create something truly wonderful, the stakes automatically go up. To say that one's expectations are too high is essentially being defeatist, so I don't believe I'm being too harsh. Edward Burns is a truly gifted writer and director, and no doubt the level of his work will continue to rise, along with the expectations. In my opinion, he hit a snag here, but it's nothing a talented and tenacious individual can't overcome. Burns' flame might have been dimmed, but it's far from out.

Copyright 2001 Michael Brendan McLarney Critically Ill

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