Monday, March 3, 2008

Things We Lost in the Fire DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro Romance Drama Due on DVD

After eleven years of marital bliss, Audrey (Halle Berry) and Steven Burke (David Duchovny) are living the American Dream. The successful architect and stay-at-home mom are in love and sitting in the lap of luxury in a suburban McMansion with a couple of adorable mop-topped kids, Dory (Micah Berry) and Harper (Alexis Llewellyn).
However, this picture-perfect family’s fortunes are irreversibly dashed the day that Steven is slain on the street by a stranger. Given the unanticipated loss of her partner and provider, Audrey suddenly finds herself facing the prospect of both raising the children and meeting the monthly mortgage alone.
Hope arrives where the emotionally-fragile widow least expects it, in the person of Steven’s best friend, Jerry Sunborne (Benicio Del Toro) a homeless heroin addict, Audrey had previously not allowed anywhere around the house.
But she has a change of heart following the funeral, and she allows this chain-smoking junkie to move into the vacant apartment above the garage so long as he attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings and find a job. She also lets him serve as a surrogate dad to Dory and Harper, who miss their father terribly.
A month or so later, we find Jerry cleaned up quite nicely, thank you, and gainfully employed by an affable neighbor (John Carroll Lynch) in the mortgage business. However, the mind-boggling events which unfold in this implausible melodrama are more like a TV soap opera than a legit full-length feature.
This flick occasionally elicits unintentional laughs. For instance, there’s the scene where Audrey asks Jerry for a hit of heroin or this equally-ridiculous exchange right out of a corny romance novel. Audrey: “Am I ever going to feel beautiful again?” Jerry: “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” Excuse me, but wasn’t this movie supposed to be about the loss of a husband, not the losing of looks?
It doesn’t get any more shallow than this.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity and pervasive drug use.
Running time: 118 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, audio commentary, theatrical trailer and a featurette.

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