Hope Floats

Bomb Rating: 

At some point in this movie, Birdee Calvert's (Sandra Bullock) mother,Ramona (Gena Rowlands), explains what the phrase "hope floats" means, but you could threaten to shock me in the scrotum with a cattle prod and I still wouldn't be able to recall it. All I seem to remember is that shit floats, which actually would have been a more appropriate title given all the crap that happens to Birdee in this Forest Whitaker film, which comes completely unmoored in its last hour.

The film's less-than-believable premise is that Birdee's husband cheats on her with her best friend (Rosanna Arquette). Okay, whatever. I suppose we should just be thankful the film didn't suppose the husband boffed Ernest Borgnine, but still, Rosanna Arquette? Anyway, her tail between her legs, Birdee returns to her hometown of Smithville, Texas, with her butt-ugly daughter, Bernice (Mae Whitman), to hide.

Whitaker floats some hope of his own that we'll care what happens to Birdee, an aspiration which tanks the second we find out she used to be town sweetheart, head cheerleader, prom queen and married the star quarterback. In other words, she was a bitch. If I had a nickel for every cheerleader or prom queen who looked at me like a lump of flotsam I'd have enough to make a phone call to Chile. What's more, I'm not relinquishing that boiling anger for anything in the world. I was rooting for Birdee to die in some horrible pom-pom accident.

Apparently, there's only one guy in the town who wants anything to do with Birdee and that's Justin Matisse (Harry Connick, Jr.) so that pretty much caps the ending. When Whitaker's analysis of post-cheerleading life grinds to a halt, he resorts to pure melodrama and kills somebody in the hope that the audience will start crying and forget that it was in a deep sleep.

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