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The Other Sister

Director:Garry Marshall
Writers: Garry Marshall and Bob Brunner
Touchstone; PG-13; 131 minutes
Release:2/99
Cast:Juliette Lewis, Diane Keaton, Tom Skerritt and Giovanni Ribisi

What does it say about the cultural climate of America today that Disney can produce a romantic comedy whose cuteness derives from the fact that the couple in question is mentally retarded? Unlike 1980s television series Life Goes On, the actors are not themselves handicapped. Their performances—speech impediments and all—are good, but may become inappropriate the longer one dwells on the premise. “I wonder who thought up sex in the first place?” inquires Carla (Lewis) of her boyfriend. Danny (Ribisi), slightly retarded as well, replies “I think it was Madonna.” Danny's an avid fan of The Graduate (and it shows), although you'd have to blend Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man with Forrest Gump to get an idea of his personality. Their blossoming relationship is just one aspect of Carla's determinedly independent life that her overbearing mother (Keaton) is trying to rein in. The Other Sister stays afloat when its cloying qualities remain above condescension's depths, though these are rough waters indeed.


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