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Stepmom: Weeper of the Week

 


Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon have a great time fighting each other in Chris Columbus's Stepmom. Their differing styles complement each other wonderfully and save what could otherwise be a disease-of-the-week movie.

Sarandon plays Jackie, the ex-wife of Luke (Ed Harris), and Roberts plays Isabel, the future wife. In the age-old contest between age vs. youth, fashion photographer Isabel lags several steps behind perfect mom Jackie in the nurturing department. But Jackie's terminal illness forces the two moms to work together for the good of 12-year-old Anna (Jenna Malone) and 7-year-old Be (Liam Aiken).

This movie is a weeper from start to finish, but don't blame the illness. There's something about little Liam Aiken that just grabs your heart. Not cute in the traditional sense, he already steals scenes like a pro with infectious laughter and "just-got-to-hug-him" winsomeness. He's the most natural child to hit the screen in years. Jenna Malone as the sullen preteen is a Jodie Foster in the making. She'll make you cry, too.

Ed Harris is his usual appealing self, but he has little to do. This movie is really about the women and the two children.

Joan Fuchsman

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