6/6 Daily Prompt: Four Stars
Write a review of your life — or the life of someone close to you — as if it were a movie or a book.
Finding myself Stuck in the Middle, I give this movie four stars – ★★★★ by Dink Winkerson
For all of the rattle-bang of the previews of this highly-anticipated second chapter in the I’m Stuck saga, the feature doesn’t quite measure up. More drama than action, more comedy than tragedy, part 2 seems to have leveled off somewhat.
The first installment, I’m Stuck in the Past, though a wee bit slow and meandering at the outset (she had a pleasant, but boring, childhood), picked up speed in the middle (Stuck didn’t settle down until she was in her late 20’s) and toward the end, presented her as a sympathetic figure overall. The understated, but dramatic, retelling of the family’s shocking loss left nary a dry eye, but by the end, her triumphant victory over tragedy turned tears into cheers and brought the audience to their feet. The strong cast of characters (including Joe the Local Boy in a humorous turn as Mr. Stuck) made this a film worth watching again and again. The chemistry between Stuck and her Mister is obvious and well-played.
Such excitement is not the case with I’m Stuck in the Middle, the second part of this story. We rejoin Stuck (now with two titanium hips) later in her daily life, as she struggles to balance career and family. Her hair is graying and the kids are growing up, leaving her wondering what’s next. The ‘midlife crisis’ theme narrowly avoids cliche, saved by a job change and a few new faces, and thankfully, we are spared the melodramatic soliloquies so common in character studies. Whew.
Nearing retirement, Stuck decides to act upon the urging of a friend to start a blog. You see her caught between her dream and her doubts; she fears that she will fail, and her lack of confidence exhibits itself in procrastination and worry. Blah, blah — that part is a bit long; it would have been better as a brief mention. Happily, though, the film picks back up as she makes a name for herself, but it never quite achieves the same level of ‘ooh and aah’ as part 1. Frankly, I don’t mind.
At this point, Stuck’s life is pretty well laid out, and, barring any strange or startling revelations, it promises to continue on the same trajectory. All in all, a decent story; it’s not Gone With the Wind or Citizen Kane, but it is a tale that stays with you. Kudos to the production team for bringing this slice of reality to the big screen — it helps us remember that reality can indeed be pleasantly dull.
Stay tuned for the final act in the trilogy, I’m Stuck in the Future, which is set to begin filming in September.
I’m Stuck in the Middle – rated R for language, prescription drug and alcohol use, and snark.
photo credit: Princess Theater