|Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine|
Sent into rehab after a nearly fatal overdose, actress Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) is told that the insurance company will only allow her to make her next picture if she moves in her with mother, star Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine), who is an alcoholic! Suzanne and her mother have a loving but difficult relationship with the latter wanting success for her daughter despite the occasional bout of jealousy, and the former bridling against her mother's perpetual, well-meaning "advice.".Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Carrie Fisher, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds, this is obviously about the two actresses, although it could just as easily be about the real Shirley MacLaine and her daughter, Sachi Parker (not to suggest that Parker was ever in rehab).The two leading ladies are both excellent, perhaps making their characters more sympathetic than they might have been in real life, Dennis Quaid is notable as a man who (seemingly) gets involved with Suzanne, and there's a nice bit from Annette Bening as another of his girlfriends. It's delightful to see Mary Wickes as the grandmother, whose relationship with Doris is as problematic as Doris' with Suzanne. Michael Ontkean [Making Love] is seen all too briefly as Suzanne's co-star in the cop thriller she's making. Rob Reiner, Gene Hackman [The Firm], and Richard Dreyfuss [Piranha] are all effective in important character parts. The musical highlights of this very entertaining movie include MacLaine nailing "I'm Still Here" from Follies, and Streep doing a snappy rendition of "Heartbreak Hotel" for the finale.
Verdict: Mothers and daughters, neurotic Hollywood-style. ***.