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Probably a bad combination: watching a movie like this while reading William Goldman's "Which Lie Did I Tell?", among other things an incisive (and often hilarious) dissection of all the things that can go wrong in the development of a screenplay. So, here I am in an airplane, with "Which Lie Did I Tell?" in my lap, and "Delivering Milo" on the screen...
If I had to give the shortest accounting of the problem with "Milo," it would be: if you know where you're going, the journey better be the part with the surprises. And there just aren't a lot of surprises. This is a screenplay that starts with a cute concept, wraps with a cash-cow ending, and leaves out anything memorable or really enjoyable in the middle.
Performances were, well, mediocre. Albert Finney was good in many places, but has morphed distractingly into William "Priceline" Shatner's doppleganger in appearance. I kept thinking this would have been a *great* showcase role for George Carlin; he would have put quite a bit more edge and humor into it.
Bridget Fonda was fine but not spectacular, the actor playing her husband veers heavily into Robert Hays territory, and Lesley Ann Warren is pretty much wasted as yet another brassy dame, a muted turn on her role in Victor/Victoria. The kid playing Milo was apparently cloned off of Elijah Wood Jr.'s genetic material, although not entirely successfully.
But the "camp counselors" ...what happened here? Did they raid a sophomore high school drama class en masse, with no consideration for who might have talent? Or did the director just think it would make things even more zany and off-kilter if everyone trotted out their most bogus, high-falutin' accent? I did think Alison Lohman was awfully pretty, though.
All that being said, I still got all watery-eyed at the ending, and the one riff I *didn't* see hurtling through the Holland Tunnel hours in advance was the very last little tidbit, which I did like. But touching family moments will do that to me every time -- you can reel me in with an AT&T ad -- that doesn't mean the filmmakers didn't waste a moderately interesting premise by forgetting to write a compelling middle.
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