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Country Strong

Country Strong

What She said:

She

Hey, remember last year when Gwyneth Paltrow totally exploited herself and her negligible singing skills?  Yeah, how could you forget.  I’m not sure if you realized her all too obvious endgame, but she was promoting a movie, one that I had zero interest in seeing called Country Strong.  The name of the film alone turned me off.  Something about it…ugh.  Anyway, I was painfully bored this weekend and thought that whatever pain this movie could dish out could not be half as bad as watching the Local Forecast Channel on loop for 25 minutes, which is what I had previously been doing.  Did you know that they’ve been using the same 5 songs for the last 6 years? 

So, I found this little gem OnDemand and settled in for two hours of country music glory.  To my relief, I found that Gwyneth only hogged about 60 percent of the screen time.  Unfortunately, there are a few downsides…  Tim McGraw, who I swear was cast only to inject some weak level of country street cred into the movie, played Paltrow’s husband.  His acting….eeeeehhhh, needs a little work.  But you know, it’s not all his fault.  The film tries to be an overcomplicated Walk the Line remake, but with less of the charm.  The plot is so wrapped up in drama that it’s got to be hard to act through it. 

Country Strong follows Gwyneth aka Kelly Canter as a washed up and addicted former country phenom who tries desperately, at her husband’s encouraging, to revive her career.  She leaves rehab abruptly and throws together a three city sold-out tour, with two young talents serving as her opening acts.  But poor Gwyneth can’t get over her troubled past, broken marriage, and inner demons, and so her comeback implodes, rather predictably.  There’s lots of tears, alcohol, sleeping around, and, of course, jealousy. The drama-mama chick in me ate it up for about the first hour and fifteen minutes.  Then I realized that almost everyone in this movie is sort of a mess, and, like the people around them, I was getting a bit sick of it.  But boy could they sing, and they had good style.  The film got too long for me, and I thought it was a little weird that Tim McGraw carries around a baby bird the whole time.  I mean, I get it, but that, too, was so overdramatized that it became ineffective.  The movie began to play out like a teenage soap opera, riddled by sideways glances, smoldering eyes, passionate gazes, and runny mascara.  And, just when I thought it had outdone itself, Country Strong swoops in with a big not-so-surprise ending.  The drama was thicker than the lemon meringue pie I had for breakfast this morning. 

I could have easily liked this movie if it had just taken it down a notch.  As is, I could only be marginally amused.

Thumbs a quarter of the way up.