{short description of image} to LAFILM.NET, if that is not too obvious.
Please distribute this URL as you see fit. By Ted Baldwin
Erin Brockovich
     Soderberg hits it big with a funny, compelling look at a woman taking on the Man, fightin' the (literal) Power and just being a brassy balled bitch at every turn.
Reviewed:
3/31/00




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Five possible.Chromium, the toxic villain of the film, gives an emerald its green color. Take that, Titanic!
     This real ship-wreck emerald is only $5625.00 and can be yours!
     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!".
     She has her hands firmly on the jewels of this hot little flick, and she is squeezing for all she is worth.


     Erin Brockovich 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 lawyers?

     Soderberg's tight 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 real Erin. Go here to meet her on Oprah's site.      The lovely Erin Brockovich, as seen on Oprah. The pic links to that site. Amazing what you can find on the web.
I 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 ghost.
 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 AC repairman.
 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 Christmas.
 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 suing them.
 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 depressing.
     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 was re-opened.
     Brockovich does not make any of those mistakes, and its posturing is so less sanctimonious that it deserves its success without question.
The official website is great.
Amusing, isn't it?

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