My Sister’s Keeper
Dir Nick Cassavetes US (PG12)
Nick Cassavetes is best known for The Notebook, so naked bathos-mongering is what people will come to My Sister’s Keeper for, and it mostly delivers. After Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) was diagnosed with leukemia as a child, her parents in-vitro engineered Anna (Abigail Breslin) to be her match for surplus bone marrow, kidneys et al. Now the younger kid wants out and is willing to sue. The family splits, with Anna and dad (Jason Patric) on one side and devoted mum Sara (Cameron Diaz) on the other decrying Anna’s ‘selfishness’.
Novelist Jodi Picoult has fashioned herself as a conversation-starter about genetics and medical ethics, but her lurid scenario is nonsense. Cassavetes has unexpectedly toned down the over-the-top series of twists from the novel’s last third, though restraint is still a relative concept.
The tear-jerking here is mostly along the sister-sister and mother-daughter axes, aside from a brief romance Kate has with a fellow patient. Diaz is a whiny irrelevance, but sharp supporting work from Alec Baldwin and Joan Cusack makes the proceedings tolerable for boyfriends.
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Dir Carlos Saldanha, Mike Thurmeier US (GP)
Some dramatic changes are occurring in the lives of Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth and Diego the sabre-toothed tiger. Manny is preoccupied with a pregnant partner, Diego’s lost his mojo and is having a midlife crisis, and lisping loser Sid… well, is it any wonder he doesn’t have a family of his own? Following a minor tiff, Sid wanders off, falls through the ice and discovers three dinosaur eggs which he adopts – until big mama Rex comes trundling into the frame. In a nod to Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the rest unfolds in a Cretaceous underworld where Manny and Co – aided by a cocky new weasel character – attempt an audacious rescue.
Some have expressed displeasure at the design and voices of the leads. We disagree, but do think Simon Pegg’s Artful Dodger-like weasel is a vocal cliché too far. Similarly, some of the anarchic, comical segues featuring Scrat the squirrel and a newfound love are beginning to feel over-familiar. As with the two earlier films, it’s all a mite disorderly in tempo, but often highly amusing and great fun in the main.