Reviews by Title:  0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Reviews by Year:  2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
Reviews by Rating:  0 star | 0.5 star | 1 star | 1.5 star | 2 star | 2.5 star | 3 star | 3.5 star | 4 star | 4.5 star | 5 star
Casa de los Babys
2003 - R - 95 Mins.
Director: John Sayles
Producer: Caroline Kaplan, Hunt Lowry
Written By: John Sayles
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Mary Steenburgen, Lili Taylor, Marcia Gay Harden
Review by: Joe Rickey
John Sayles (Sunshine State) directs Casa de los Babys, a film that has many good performances. The presence of such high quality performances makes it even more unfortunate that, as a whole, the film is much too talky and flat out laborious to be as entertaining and thought provoking as it clearly intends to be.

There are directors who set out just to create high-octane action thrillers. Rob Cohen of XXX and The Fast and the Furious fame, fits into this category. His films don’t require much thought on behalf of the viewer. They are the definition of popcorn entertainment. Then there are directors that attempt to weave messages into their films about important issues (or issues important to them). John Sayles, who last directed Sunshine State, a two and a half hour film about resistance to change in a tight knit community in South Florida. As you can probably tell, Sayles gives his films a slow pace that is intended to allow much in the way of character development.

His latest film, titled Casa de los Babys follows a similar template as his previous films in many ways. In a faraway Latin American country a group of women struggle in their attempt to adopt a child because of the political turmoil present in that country. The film follows them through each of their individual struggles and triumphs during the long process they are forced to endure.

From this premise Sayles attempts to bring into the equation even more what he hopes are poignant issues such as the general law of supply and demand and the way in which people must abide by it. Tackling multiple issues isn’t always a problem if each issue can be properly addressed. That means that there must be given enough time to each issue so that not one is given the short shrift, so to speak.

The problem here is that the director does just that. He only touches on the surface of the supply and demand issue and instead seems more focused on the rather meaningless details of each of the characters present in the film. It really is not necessary to learn all we do about the characters to enjoy the film. The film would have benefited from less character development and more of a focus on the issues at hand. The film almost seems content to push what one thinks would be the central plot to the backburner and instead focus on the characters and their plights. He also chooses to develop the characters in the most unimaginative way possible by having them describe their problems through talking instead of the more preferred medium of visual storytelling. The characters literally talk and talk and talk until it seems like they should have long ago lost their ability to do so because of the inordinate amount of time they have already spent vocalizing.

The actors do their best with what they are given. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a standout as one of the women. She brings such energy to her role that she rises above some of the more inane dialogue she is forced to spout off. Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill Vol. 1) also brings much energy to her role as does the rest of the cast which all give the best possible performances at the service of a much too talky script.
Overall, Casa de los Babys features fine acting but such lackluster writing that it can only be recommended for die hard fans of a member of the cast.

Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

Have a comment about this review? (0 comments now)

Search for reviews:

Copyright © 2003-2023   All rights reserved.