Everybody's a critic - 'Waking Up in Reno'

Friday, December 13, 2002

Three stars

This movie takes a humorous look at life and its tribulations.

Starting in Millsburg, Ark., two couples who are also best friends set out on a long-planned vacation to Reno, Nev. The drive starts with being pulled over by the police before getting out of town, progresses with a series of less than desirable sleeping conditions, advances to a steak-eating contest, crescendos with an exposed affair, and culminates with a "Monster Truck Jam." This is all done with a rather light hearted perspective that often has viewers either shaking their heads or laughing in spite of the seriousness of the situation.

"Waking Up in Reno" is a purely entertaining film with very little social significance. I sincerely doubt that the average individual would respond to betrayal in such an understanding fashion, however, there would probably be enormous advantages both personally and socially, if, as humans, we were so forgiving.

-- Karla Marquart, realtor

Two-and-a-half stars

As I walked in the theater five minutes late I could only think of two things: Either no one wants to see this movie or no one has ever heard of it. I say this because I stood in a totally empty auditorium, and they had to start the movie for only my wife and myself.

I had never heard of this film, but on the way in I did catch a glimpse of the poster and was relieved that I recognized the cast. Billy Bob Thornton, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Swayze and Charlize Theron stood before me dressed like rejects from "The Jerry Springer Show." I knew then that I would be entertained.

This film has everything from 72-ounce steaks to monster truck rallies. At times it feels a lot like "National Lampoon's Vacation," but unfortunately there are slow spots that keep it from being in that league of comedy. It's good, but not great.

-- Tim Bearden, sales

One star

Don't forget this redneck road trip is a tongue-in-cheek comedy, a ceaseless satire of a stereotypical Arkansas good old boy, beer-drinking bubba, (Billy Bob Thornton), his dimwitted best friend (Patrick Swayze) and their bleach-blonde, air-headed, thickly accented wives (Natasha Richardson and Charlize Theron) on their way to self discovery of sorts in Reno, Nev.

Don't expect anything much of this crudely male chauvinist, over the top, ridiculous, occasionally quite funny and in the end (in true Hollywood style) somewhat heart warming joyride into the muck and mire of married life -- Southern style. (Think Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Clinton, and "The Beverly Hillbillies" all rolled into one.)

Don't waste your money at the theater box office. Instead, wait for the video, invite other married couples, down a few Pabst Blue Ribbons (the movie's beer of choice), sit back and enjoy the silliness.

-- Bill Bradley, family nurse practioner

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