| EB is based on a true story, and the
fine folks at Univeral think the story is so well known THEY TELL YOU HOW IT
ENDS ON THE DAMNED WEBSITE! But other than that small, vital complaint about
L.A.-centrism, the tale of Erin Brockovich rising from the squalid roomy fields
of Kansas Beauty Queen to the squalid file rooms of L.A. Paralegal is one of
promising beauty to promising booty. Bitches to riches.
Handled in a
rapid fire and humorous way, Brockovich is observant, and though uneducated,
she is not dumb. And it is Robert's talent that lets the person Erin is leak
out through the wisecracks in her invulnerability. And if it were not for that,
I don't think this film would be much.
This insight into
the struggle makes EB something other than a glitzy feminist rant. Showing what
she sacrifices in real terms to achieve her ambitions for her children is
crucial to being sympathetic - because even being with someone with that big a
chip on their shoulder for two hours is an hour and 59 minutes too much,
assuming it takes you 59 seconds to walk away.
Soderberg tempers this brassiness
appropriately, but it does make you wonder why this woman is so busy not
letting people like her - except strangers. I guess that is what being a beauty
queen is all about, putting it on for strangers, and not worrying about the
little people. But it is her flaws that make her so interesting. And true to
character, she gets the last word - "thank you".
Julia Roberts has
come in to her own with this role, bullying her way through an unaccommodating
world just to say "I survived two marriages, three kids, a car wreck and
all I got was this lousy check that wasn't even what I bargained for!".
her hands firmly on the jewels of this hot little flick, and she is squeezing
for all she is worth.
is an exhilarating ride at times, but beyond that it is not special in any sort
of way other than to give hope and a feeling of possibility to millions of
others out there struggling to make it. But isn't that something in a world
where top honors go to smart-assed self-defeatist schlemeils in suburbia
whining because things did not go just exactly as planned for their pampered
lives? Isn't it nice to see someone contribute, pay their own way, strive for
something better and just plain not be a victim? Isn't it nice that the
American Dream is still viable, in reach, and working? Even though it involves
editing style, willingness to let her look stupid, and kick ass last second
summation by the old Lawyer in charge (Albert Finney) round it out to an
ultimately satisfying, laugh-out loud experience.
I left feeling
like there was hope, somewhere.
| The lovely Erin
Brockovich, as seen on Oprah. The pic links to that site. Amazing what you can
find on the web.
wonder what this film would be like in the style of other films?
| American Beauty: Erin looks at all the filing she has to do,
then blackmails her boss, takes the money, buys and smokes a lot of PG&E
engineered hexavalent hallucinogens, then lets PG&E kill her just as the
drugs kick in.
| Cider House Rules: Erin obviously cannot make it in the real
world if she has kids standing in the way of her career, so the PG&E doctor
steps in and clears the way, three times. He forges a Law Degree for her and
she is a success.
| EYES WIDE SHUT: Erin doesn't like the idea of her ex-husband
cheating on her, even if it is only in his mind. She goes to a PG&E
Christmas party, gets a few death threats, doesn't get laid and decides not to
sue, in case PG&E really exists.
| Boys Don't Cry: Erin becomes Eric, and sues PG&E's pants
off until the evil Lawyers at PG&E decide she really IS a man, and kill her
because she(he) was not kitty-lashed.
| Next Best Thing: Erin decides to have a fourth child, then
instead of waiting for her gay law-giver to leave her, she leaves him, and then
sues him just for the hell of it. PG&E is represented by the old queens in
the mansion, for no good reason. Everybody sings "American Pie",
which I forgot to ridicule in the review.
| American Pie: Erin wants to graduate Law school, but she wants
to lose her virginity more. There was this one time, at band camp, she stuck a
flute up PG&E's butt. PG&E sued her, but it came out OK.
| Arlington Road: Erin thinks her neighbor works for PG&E,
and wants to sue him. A crowd kills her after he slyly blames her for raising
utility rates sky high.
| Sleepy Hollow: Every fall the PG&E utility man rises from
the dead, cold ground and tries to read everyone's meter. Erin is called into
town, bringing her newfangled laws with her. After the ghost cuts everyone's
power, Erin conjures up a suit. She puts the suit on, and sues the
| Summer of Sam: Erin hates blacks, and may be suing them.
PG&E is running around loose, refusing to cool the neighborhood, because it
is black. Erin can't keep her Hispanic man, and takes a lot of drugs. A dog
talks about suing Erin. The director makes a 15 minute cameo appearance as an
| Reindeer Games: Erin leaves prison, steals an identity, then
tries to justify taking gambling money from Native Americans until she can
figure out how to sue them. She finds out the Casino is run by Las Vegas, which
is owned by PG&E, which makes it OK. All the Santas are sued for ruining
| Galaxy Quest: Erin, who once starred in a semi-successful TV
show about Lawyers, gets a chance to sue PG&E when some sickly-looking
people show up at her autograph party. By the end of the movie, she has sued
enough to get her own law office.
| The Talented Mr. Ripley: Pretending to be an attorney, Erin
goes to Europe on the PG&E expense account. There she accidentally kills
the daughter of the corporation head as she cruelly exposes Erin as nothing but
a paralegal. Assuming her identity, Erin drifts around for a while, and then
decides to kill everyone she knows, probably because it is more humane than
| Toy Story 2: Erin is a legal aid toy sad that her boy doesn't
play with her anymore, leaving her with three kids. She gets bought by
PG&E, which is going to garage sales. She finds out that she was once a
beauty queen and a lawyer. She sues PG&E for sexual harassment, then goes
home to her kids. PG&E pays for Christmas. (That last one doesn't have
anything to do with TS2, but the idea sounds pretty good.)
| Man On The Moon: Erin discovers she has the ability to sue
people and make them laugh. She does this, pretending she is insane, until she
wears out her welcome and dies in obscurity. PG&E owns the comedy club she
gets her start in, so everybody sues them.
| A Civil Action: Just like Erin Brockovich, only
| This is the movie A Civil Action should
have been. Travolta was good, but unlike Brockovich, Action's hero was a
gambler and ultimately a loser. He was so cock sure, and lost so big, that the
film was unsatisfying. There was not much hope, even though the investigation
not make any of those mistakes, and its posturing is so less sanctimonious that
it deserves its success without question.