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

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

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.