"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 19 March 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.

For years, retarded people have been cinematically ghettoized in retarded-people-falling-in-love movies. Engaging in slobbery, uplifting kisses, working out their problems with slobbery, uplifting obstinacy, the stars of these films function as inspirational Hallmark slogans come to life. Remember Shaun Cassidy and Linda Purl in Like Normal People? Or Mel Gibson in Tim? Joining their ranks recently are Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi, stars of The Other Sister, the latest treacly dope opera to penetrate the hazy obtuseness of our three-digit IQs and remind us of the simple verities we're just too damned "intelligent" to see.

It's as if the progress made in Slingblade and There's Something About Mary, films in which retarded people are allowed to be retarded without having to fall in love, had never been produced at all. Really, don't they deserve a better fate than active-ingredient status in the emotional snake oil dispensed by condescending Tinseltown smarmacists like Garry Marshall? At turns highly expressive or broodingly, beguilingly distant, the developmentally disabled are natural screen presences. In a more just world, they would appear in a variety of movie genres - and not just as comic relief or crosses to bear but as stars.

Next ... Large mutant aliens - not as tough as you'd think.

[Next Page]