|Teen Movie Critic - II is a Dream Machine Site|
The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
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Although it doesn't start out that way, you don't need the psychic friends' network to tell you where this boring plot is headed. Natalie Portman plays Ann, a grumpy but uninteresting and unrealistic teen whose mother (Susan Sarandon, not in one of her better roles) decides to move away from their small town in Wisconsin - in favor of Beverly Hills.
I don't know what's wrong with Ann, but I for one would not be complaining about moving away from a small town to Beverly Hills. (I live in a small town, and I hate it.)
Ann does have a point about her mom's immaturity, instability, and stupidity. She can't keep the bills paid (their electricity is often turned off) any better than she can hold a job. Her love interests (she long since divorced Ann's father) are either insipidly inept (one guy likes photographing dams for a hobby) or they take advantage of her (apparently she's too dumb to see anything coming).
Neither of these characters is a very good female role model. Both are portrayed as pathetic saps, albeit for different reasons. Ann is a boring, stick-in-the-mud, dull girl, while her mother is a ditzy, scatterbrained, and self-deluded numbskull.
I get the impression that this was meant to be one of those drippy chick flicks where the characters cry all over the place and act like stereotypically overemotional, hysterical females. Nothing that dramatic happens, for all the bemoaning and crying - the only justifiably sad part is the death of Ann's favorite cousin. The rest is overdone, melodramatic acting and scripting.
Quite evidently, Anywhere But Here was also meant to be one of those mother-daughter bonding movies where the mom and daughter in question fight for a while but end up best friends by the film's conclusion.
I think Anywhere But Here is really going to miss the mark with its targeted teenage girl audience. Maybe some young to middle-aged women will like the film - if they're the sappy sort. (But they'd be wise to leave Boyfriend at home, because guys aren't going to enjoy it.) Not being a sucker for sap, I hated Anywhere But Here, and found it to be a complete waste of time. It's not even a good chick flick because the female characters are portrayed as such idiots.