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Bonneville
Our Rating
1 Star - Weak
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Mpaa Rating
PG (for some mild language and innuendo)
Genre
Directed By
Christopher N. Rowley
Run Time
1 hour 33 minutes
Cast
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen, Robert Conder
Theatre Release
February 29, 2008 by SenArt

The operative words are "Be Kind."

Oh boy, a movie about a 1966 Bonneville convertible! That's the car my sisters and I learned to drive on. Ours was silver with a black interior, purchased brand-new off the showroom floor with every possible extra. We called it the Batmobile. It's in retirement at Louisa's place now, but I like to think of it as resting up.

I went to see the cinematic Bonneville filled with hopeful nostalgia, but, I regret to say, it's a really crummy movie. Though the car appears in the film, it's mere eye candy for a story about three middle-aged women ("middle," that is, if you know lots of 120-year-olds). They—Arvilla (Jessica Lange), Margene (Kathy Bates), and Carol (Joan Allen)—are using the spiffy vehicle to make a road trip from Pocatello, Idaho to Santa Barbara, California. Though road-trip movies have been overdone, it could still have been enjoyable, especially as a comedy retaining down-to-earth, wisecracking Bates. But Bonneville is also burdened with a serious plot element, one that feels contrived and manipulative.

It's that Arvilla has just lost her husband, Joe. After his retirement, Joe became an adventurous traveler, and began taking Arvilla around the world. Death came while they were on a trip to Borneo. As the story opens we see Arvilla coming home in a taxi, clutching a container of Joe's ashes. She had made him a promise to scatter them, the where and how left unspecified.

But Joe has a daughter from his first marriage, Francine, who feels strongly that he should be buried next to her mother, in the family plot in California. She offers Arvilla a deal: turn over the ashes by the time of the memorial service next week, and I won't sell this house. (The house was left to Francine ...

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