My First Mister

"Good"

My First Mister Review


Looking back, My First Mister started to fall apart when John Goodman was first introduced as a pot-smoking, long-haired hippie remnant from The Big Lebowski. After that a terminal illness surfaces, then a character goes on a road trip, where the seeds of love are planted.

Somewhere between the first and second event I sighed in frustration. Another perfectly good movie gets ruined because of an extended trip into Clicheville. For a good fifty minutes or so, My First Mister rarely makes a mistake in detailing the friendship between a middle-aged, repressed clothing store manager Randall (Albert Brooks) and his 17-year-old Goth employee, Jennifer (Leelee Sobieski).

Out of high school and desperate for a job, Jennifer applies at Randall's mall store. When they first meet, harsh words are exchanged, but Randall soon takes a shine to the kid. The feeling is mutual for Jennifer, who is thrilled at being treated as a person, and not as a science experiment. They become friends, but also each other's teacher. She takes him to get a tattoo (she has several). He helps her get an apartment and a new wardrobe.

My First Mister excels in the first half because of the two leads. Brooks has always had a humorous and self-deprecating style that makes him an asset, but here he's even better because Brooks plays a character that would use that type of personality shield. He's not married to Andie MacDowell or a successful network news correspondent. His Randall is a control freak who seeks comfort in magazines.

As for Sobieski, who I've always liked, she does another fine job. This time it's with a shaky character -- the troubled Goth chick. Along with screenwriter Jill Franklyn, Sobieski finds her character's human touch and runs with it. She's a teenage kid who's screwed up, and Sobieski excels in being both mature and childish (Eyes Wide Shut ring a bell?). Her cajoling a customer into buying a suit is spot on, as is her indifferent treatment of her mom and stepfather (Carol Kane and Michael McKean, who's perennially underrated and almost as perennially underused).

Christine Lahti, a fine actress making her full-length directing debut, creates palpable tension between Jennifer and Randall. They might be friends, but there's something between them. While he gets tattooed, Randall gets caught up in Jennifer's dancing, and the moment frightens him. Jennifer tries on Randall's clothes, and when they talk while she wears his bathrobe, a sexy, frightening connection looms.

But where, oh where, did Lahti and Franklyn cook up the rest of the movie, which is like a bad combination of Terms of Endearment and Easy Rider? Not only are the movie's last 30 minutes distracting and predictable, but by cranking up the drama factor, the filmmakers completely show their lack of confidence in the main characters. The whole movie became worthless and hollow to me after that.

And what the hell is Goodman, as Jennifer's dad, doing here? His presence in the movie is the proverbial turd in the punch bowl. There's no explanation as to how his character and Kane's got together, or how he gets invited to a dinner of Brooks' friends at the film's end. And he's such an aging hippie stereotype, he looks like a member of a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band.

Despite the sloppy final act, My First Mister is worth seeing for Brooks and Sobieski's performances. Lahti shows a lot of promise in directing her first feature film. I'm looking forward to her next project, if she keeps the characters in one place and away from hospital rooms.

Howdy, mister.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th July 2002

Distributed by: Paramount Classics

Production compaines: Total Film Group, ApolloMedia Distribution, Film Roman Productions, Firelight Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 38

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Randall, as Jennifer, as Benjamin, as Mrs. Benson, as Randy, Natasha Braisewell as Girl in Vintage, Henry Brown as Jack Taylor - Salesman, as Bob, as Woman at Apartment

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.