'Running With Scissors'
(Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jill Clayburgh, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, et al / NR / 83 mins / Sony Pictures)
Overview: Based on Augusten Burroughs' best-selling memoir, the story follows Deirdre Burroughs (Bening), a 1970s poet with bipolar disorder. Her instability after a messy divorce leads her to send her 12-year-old son to live with an unusual psychiatrist and his eccentric family.
Verdict: Man, Bening, as Burroughs' messed-up mom, is a symphony of glazed-over expression, wild frenzy, far-out 1970s caftans and Tab. And even though the movie is supposed to be about the kid, she steamrolls through every scene she's in. Also, watch Clayburgh as the beaten-down wife of psychiatrist Cox as she mutely eats dog food, watches Dark Shadows and obeys her awful husband even when it means building a shrine to his bowel movements. Yes, that actually happens. Anyway, her performance is all blank sadness and empty expression, and she's the most interesting person here. Anyway, 'Running With Scissors' basically plays like a surreal black comedy that seems all too redolent of the cinematic excesses of the 1970s. Noisily vacant, as they say in the business!