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home fries poster

Home Fries

Starring Drew Barrymore, Catherine O'Hara, Luke Wilson and Jake Busey
Written by Vincent Gilligan
Directed by Dean Parisot
Website: www.wb-homefries.com

IN SHORT: Don't believe the trailer. See it now.

A scripting credit by The X-Files' supervising producer and head writer Vincent Gilligan may lure the X-philes in the audience into the theaters for Home Fries. The rest of you are going to have to take my word for it, and get the Dickens surprised out of y'all. This movie is a quirky and black romantic comedy that had Cranky in stitches, excepting the times that his attention was fixed to top notch performances by stars Drew Barrymore, Catherine O'Hara, Jake Busey and Luke Wilson. Gilligan's screenplay is exceptionally clever and funny and Dean Parisot's direction occasionally pays visual homage to the TV show that keeps Gilligan flush.

Sally Jackson (Barrymore) works the car window at the Burger-Matic. Frank Lever is a regular customer, who buys vanilla shakes and has a bun in Sally's oven. Frank's wife (O'Hara) wants to scare him back into the straight and narrow so Dorian and Angus (Wilson and Busey), her sons by her first marriage, borrow an A.H.-1 Cobra Attack helicopter from the local air national guard and scare the man to death. Literally. Jake loves the thrill of the kill. Luke feels guilty. Problem is, the entire event was overheard on the headsets in the burger joint, making Sally and co-worker (Daryll "Chill" Mitchell) the only witnesses to the event. Luke hires on to the Burger-Matic to determine if another killing is necessary. He, of course, falls in love and Sally, of course, has no idea he's the stepson of the deceased father of her child.

The casting is perfect. The script is of a world in which the main characters are just warped enough to keep you more than interested, and in which the comedy is dark, terribly and terrifically funny. We're at a level just above white trash, though that token is filled by actor Lenny Flaherty as Sally's father, for additional comic relief. This is a world where just one character, O'Hara, is smarter and more manipulative than anyone else could imagine. But first, a word about our star . . .

Cranky isn't sure what it is about this project that has Drew Barrymore delivering a more focused and finer acting performance than anything she's done (almost) ever. We saw glimpses of her ability in The Wedding Singer, and now it has bloomed full. Despite her incredible naivete, Sally is simple and sweet and probably will make the "good mother" she says she'll be. There is nothing cloying or artificial about Drews perf. As good as she is, Barrymore is left in the dust by an awesome performance by Catherine O'Hara. Deep down you know her character is a masterful manipulative bitch, but the performance leaves just enough room for doubt. Her dialog indicates one intent; her actions another. The finale of the piece, as a truck driven by (Luke) faces off with the Cobra piloted by (Jake) is a terrific piece of writing and acting and in one simple moment, O'Hara nailed herself a nomination, at least on my list. I haven't had this gut feeling since Kim Basinger did it to me a year ago in L.A. Confidential. We know what happened to Kim.

Home Fries. Like 'em with my eggs. Like 'em on the screen. Damn, this was good.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Home Fries, he would have paid . . .


'cuz of O'Hara's nomination level performance (else it still would have hit $7). Home Fries was terrific. The thing is, I saw it four months ago. Now I'll have to go see it again.

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