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Who do we blame for the lost art of "the road trip"? Does anyone set out to drive across country anymore? Not for the purpose of simply getting from
point A to point B but instead to use the time on the road as a way of rediscovery or to see things you never saw before. To be in no hurry. What a
concept. With crime the way it is and gas prices gouging us at every turn it is not surprising that people no longer drive for the sake of driving. In the new film Bonneville, three seasoned women take off on a journey that hopefully leads to unexpected adventure, healing, and growth. Wow, I bet I just lost 98% of all my male readers with that one sentence. It's ok guys. If this were a spectacular movie I would encourage you to hang around, but instead you can be excused

Bonneville is about a woman, Arvilla (Jessica Lange) who has just lost her husband and is faced with the dilemma of honoring the will of her step-daughter (Christine Baranski) or the last wishes of her late husband. With no other options left she decides to return the ashes of the deceased
back to the family in Santa Barbara from Utah. So she jumps in the '66 Bonneville with her two best friends and takes off. Margene (Kathy Bates) is
the free spirit who has gone too long without the companionship of a man and Carol (Joan Allen) is the strict, conservative Mormon who tries hard to keep her vows, morals and vices in check. Along the way they each learn about life, love and their own personal existence. The three together make an
unlikely set of friends who help each other break free of that which binds them.

Though labeled as a comedy/drama and sprinkled with a few laughs I found it to be incredibly melancholy. Just when I thought these amazing actresses
would get the chance to deeply develop their character the scene would sort of flake out. So although a lot happens in the film, nothing ever happens.
For one the film takes its time to tell the story. Like a leisurely drive it is in no hurry to get to the destination. It wants to savor the simplicity of sight and sound along the way. That is a great concept and has worked in past films. But not here. I never found myself being lifted up or engaging with any of them. And that is a shame considering the plot and elements to work with. 

Bonneville is rated PG for some mild language and innuendo. It is a totally safe film for all ages although most under 30 will probably find the lack of
plot and unmotivated adventure boring. This could have been an amazing buddy film of three older women at the peek of life discovering greatness. But it
just didn't happen. I see this film finding its way to DVD shelves soon and a constant weekend choice on Lifetime or WE. Not to be stereotypical but
that seems to be the best home for this flick. Unlike Fried Green Tomatoes or Trip to Bountiful, all of which are amazing films, this one just doesn't
have enough gas to get it up to speed. I only give Bonneville 2 out of 5 last wishes.

Matt Mungle (2/26/08)

Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and co-hosts a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy.
For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website

Review copyright 2008 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

Funny girl Christine Baranski gets serious in the new film Bonneville. 

Below is an excerpt from our time together where Christine chatted about the movie, on being funny and the current issue of women in cinema. Click Here(9:32) 




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