Somebody Answer The Phone!

A paper-thin plot and overly sentimental characters make this one to avoid.

The performances of the cellular phones in the flick are just heart-wrenching - and they have been well-supported by Meg Ryan, who plays Eve Mozell, the fuzzy-brained, clumsy sister who can't refuse favours; Maddy "airhead" Mozell, the sister played by Lisa Kudrow, who is so much like Phoebe of "Friends" fame that she need not have bothered to change her name; and finally dynamic, madly ambitious Georgia, played by Diane Keaton who runs a women's magazine named..."Georgia".

The plot is thinner than paper. Lou Mozell, their father, is sick and dying of some unnamed disease and Eve tries her best to bring her sisters together to help look after him. However, their busy schedules and many other interests leave them with little time for him.

The ingredients of this emotional saga are three sisters with varied personalities who squabble; a physically and mentally deteriorating father, battling with the memories of his wife who has left him, old age and a disease; party arrangements for a big do that Georgia is going to attend; an irresponsible, thoughtless mother; and a hectic American workday schedule that turns people into versions of themselves that they'd rather not be.

Eve, the middle sister, is the anchor in the family and of the film. The performances are fair - Eve, Georgia, Maddy and Lou Mozell all elicit a wry smile or two. The Ephron sisters, Delia and Nora, are the screenwriters in this entertainer. The two characters who most catch our fancy are the ones given least footage - Omar Kunundar, the Egyptian doctor whose car Eve runs into, and his mother, Ogmed Kunundar, played by Duke Moosekian and Ann Bortolotti respectively.

The film indulges the audience - it reawakens memories of families, the trials and tribulations of sibling relationships, death of loved ones, difficult relatives and so on, but it does tend to become overly sentimental at times. Ladies, you might want to carry your kerchiefs.

This article was first published on 03 Aug 2000.