Fonda, Felicity and Lindsay Flounder in Georgia

Georgia Rule
Running Time 113 minutes
Directed By Garry Marshall
Written By Mark Andrus
Starring Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Felicity Huffman

Jane Fonda can do just about anything, but first you have to give her something to do. A dismal abomination called Georgia Rule gives her nothing more than a slap in the face, and the face that can still stop traffic hasn’t been photographed very flatteringly to begin with. At her age, I can understand her interest in dipping one of her pedicured toes in the acting business just for the sake of argument. (An actor undeclared is an actor unemployed.) But after winning every award in her profession, she’s got nothing left to prove. Plus, she’s smart, beautiful, wise and knows how to read a script—just in case something worth doing comes along. Georgia Rule is nothing worth doing, and is most assuredly nothing worth seeing. Worse, the sight of Jane Fonda stooping to the level of co-starring with Lindsay Lohan is enough to make you give up on movies from now until reincarnation. This movie is so bad people are taking bets to see how long they can stay awake without snoring.

O.K., Garry Marshall once directed something called Pretty Woman. Almost everything since then has turned to bile. It’s not easy, but now he’s even managed to make Jane Fonda look like Alpo. And the script (by Mark Andrus)—oy vey! Here is a non-story about three generations of dull, annoying and obnoxious women, not one of whom builds one centimeter of emotional involvement in nearly two hours of insignificance. Rachel, the town slut (Lohan)—tired of the constant sexual abuse from her stepfather (Cary Elwes)—leaves her home in California and heads for Idaho to spend the summer with her tough, toe-the-line grandmother, Georgia (Ms. Fonda), to the fury of Georgia’s estranged alcoholic daughter, Lilly (Felicity Huffman). These women all hate each other, for reasons that become obvious as soon as they all start yelling at each other. To make a long and murderous soap opera shorter than it is, the headstrong Georgia gets the rebellious Rachel a job in the office of a sexy veterinarian (Dermot Mulroney) who used to be her mother’s old boyfriend. Rachel tries to seduce him. Then she steals a Mormon country boy’s virginity by introducing him to oral oom-pa-pa (“I never touched that woman!”). By the time the drunken Lilly arrives, everyone is beyond salvage. Eventually, Grandma forces them to confront the evil stepfather and press criminal charges, and everyone finds God.

A cross between Guiding Light and Tobacco Road, this drivel has to be seen to be believed. It is doubtful that Lindsay Lohan could make “What time is the next bus?” sound convincing. The Fonda-Huffman team makes the most preposterous mother-daughter combo since Hedy Lamarr and Jane Powell played mother-daughter nymphomaniacs in The Female Animal. The kind of dialogue they endure goes like this: “There was a time when you’d drag me out of here for drinking by my hair!” “You’re too old now—so is your hair!” The characters have no definition, no impact, no unique or peculiar traits to sustain interest. A colossal waste of time, this movie was born unconscious and dead on arrival. Time for a new book by Jane Fonda, and this time I expect a full chapter on how she got snookered into doing Georgia Rule.