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18 May 2000 Edition

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Cinema: Too hung over

In 28 Days, America's darling, Sandra Bullock, plays Gwen Cummings, a top New York writer who attends the hottest parties in town.

Gwen, along with her suave boyfriend Jasper (Dominic West), is living what many perceive to be the high life. Constantly surrounded by drugs and alcohol, Gwen has built up quite a relationship with those substances and she is apparently enjoying her life of indulgence.

It takes a court order to pull Gwen away from her `glamorous' parties after she drives her sister's wedding limousine into a house while trying to replace the wedding cake which she fell on and squashed while under the influence.

She is sentenced to 28 days of rehabilitation in what seems like a `chanting hell' called Serenity Glen. If she does not complete these 28 days of rehab, she will face a two-month prison sentence. So, rather than `downgrade' herself any further by going to prison (after all, she is a member of high society) she reluctantly opts for the ridiculous chants over the hissing of the laundry steam presses.

And so the movie follows her melancholic journey of self-discovery. In the rehab clinic, she is assigned to a group including a homosexual German who cannot express his feelings and an ex-doctor with a grudge against life. The patient with whom Gwen forms the inevitable bond, however, is the loose cannon of the group, suicidal teen Andrea. As the alcohol slowly drips from her system, Gwen rediscovers the beauty of life while the audience simultaneously yawns with the laziness of the script.

Despite some fleeting comic moments, 28 Days is at base an unsatisfying and preachy movie focusing on the evils of alcohol.


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