COOKIE’S FORTUNE (1999)
Starring Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Charles Dutton, Liv Tyler, Chris O’Donnell, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, Courtney B. Vance, Rufus Thomas and Lyle Lovett.
Screenplay by Anne Rapp.
Directed by Robert Altman.
Distributed by USA Films. 118 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Robert Altman’s greatest films take a compassionate look at a wide-ranging variety of quirky characters (M*A*S*H, Nashville, The Player). Unfortunately, his bad films do, too. Which brings us to Cookie’s Fortune, in which a bunch of eccentric southern folk get together in a picturesque setting and nothing really happens.
Oh, sure, Cookie (Patricia Neal), the matriarch, kills herself –apparently because she still hasn’t gotten over her husband’s death decades before. Her nieces, the overbearing Glenn Close and the put-upon Julianne Moore, pretend it was a murder to protect their names and their inheritances.
The nice handyman (Charles Dutton) gets held for the crime, allowing Altman to make some very standard points about racism. We know Dutton is innocent and so do all the other characters, so it is less than a riveting predicament. Liv Tyler, Chris O’Donnell, Courtney B. Vance, Ned Beatty and Lyle Lovett are amongst the other fine actors who have nothing to do but act strange and southern.
Cookie’s Fortune is essentially a lot of very talented people spinning their wheels. (4/99)
Copyright ©1999 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: April 2, 1999.