Tuesday, April 21, 2009
WORTH-IT: (Christine Jeffs) Amy Adams and Emily Blunt star in a pathetically sad story about helplessly sad people trying to make it in a cruel cruel world. As a cleaning lady, Adams' Rose is unhappy, unfulfilled and ultimately convinced it is the only way to climb the social and professional ladder (Yet, into what world exactly, we are left unconvinced as this community is overridden with high school has-beens and primadona Betties). Unfortunately, as life has its way with the unfortunate, Rose finds herself in need of something bigger, something delivering a larger buck which apparently is none other than crime-scene clean up. (Big jump, I guess?) She recruits her screw-up sister, pawns off her kid (who was kicked our fo school) on grandpa, and hits up the bloody mess left in various spots of town. It's gross, but its funny, and because its desperate, its heartening. Plus, listening to Rose convinve herself in front of her old cheerleading buddies that she actually enjoys it is all the more reason to fall in love with this group of hillbillies. All in all, this film makes sad people a little more entertaining, one, by perking up the eccentric factor, and two, giving us characters played by lovable quirks themselves. Blunt is at her best, playing troubled sister Norah, tormented for the last 20+ years at never knowing her mother. She is vibrant in a quiet character and carries emotion all over her body, so much so that just seeing her face makes up endless words (that thankfully, this script doesn't compensate for). Alan Arkin pops up again (this time alive for his character's scenes) as the weirdo grandpa. A remix to Little Miss Sunshine, Cleaning delves once again into familial motif, and this time spares no unfriendly details. From the guts the sisters disinfect to the tragedy behind this family's lonely uprising, we discover a group of people who aren't happy with who they are become post-adolescence, or post-grown-up for that matter. It's a constant struggle between emotion, self confidence and self worth, all while trying to survive and raise a family. It'll wear you out; but in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way, you can't take your eyes off of them, and your heart leaks sympathy. All in all, a refresher for the sadness in the world and the eclectic peace that some find within it.