Stepmom review by Matt Fuerst


Story Summary

Stepmom is a story that is very common for quite a few households in our quick-turnaround society today. Mom (Susan Sarandon) and Dad (Ed Harris) are divorced and Dad has a hot new honey (Julia Roberts). The kids from the marriage are having a difficult time adjusting to all the time that Isabel (Roberts) is spending with Luke (Harris). Through the beginning half of the movie we witness the normal struggles that one would expect in this type of relationship. The daughter rebels against Isabel since she feels she is replacing her mother. The son is a little more tame to Isabel to her face, but attempts to cast magical spells to her into a permanent sleep behind her back. Around the midway point comes the patented mid-point twist, that mom Jackie (Sarandon) has cancer and is losing her battle. This is meant to add some extra depth to the relationships. We'll talk later if it works. Jackie can't keep it secret forever as she grows weaker and weaker and eventually shares her secret with Dad, Hot New Honey and the kids. We watch as she withers up from her Chemo treatments. I hope I'm not blowing the big suprise for you in saying that in the end, Jackie passes to the great beyond, but before she goes, she passes the proverbial torch to Isabel to take care of her children and provide that mother role in her life.

DVD features

I have no complaints about the DVD. It's a flipper, so Side A the widescreen version and Side B is the full screen. Useful for those family members that just hate the widescreen. There are not many goodies on the disc, a simple featurette is the main highlight. This isn't exactly a movie that is ripe for a two disc set, and it gets the appropriate treatment.


Now, I know the thoughts most likely going through your head at this time is, "Fuerstmasta, what the heck are you doing with Stepmom in your oh-so cool collection of DVD's?" Let me tell you my friends, you may this having Stepmom in your collection is the bottom of the pit, but let me show you how dark your life can be: I saw Stepmom in the theate, too. Yeah... and now let me prepare my defense. A movie of this type does have potential. So many people come from splintered homes, I know personally that the relationships that form in a divorced house can be extremely rich. Complex relationships within a family have traditionally been extremely interesting ground to explore (I think Boiler Room pulls off a Father-Son relationship really well), but, that doesn't really occur all that much here. The children, featuring the most annoying little boy I've yet to see on film (including Macauly in Home Alone) hate Isabel, then warm up to her. Mom hates Isabel, then warms up to her. Dad really likes Isabel, and ends up really liking her (no surpise there). The movie will try to tug on your heart strings and it may well accomplish it's goal. It's great to see such a defined effort to do so, as they line up the Annoying Son to make his last visit with mom on her deathbed, and then if that one didn't get you, don't worry.... there is Less Annoying Daughters final visit with Deathbed Mom coming immediately afterwards. It's a total double dip. I don't blame em for doing it, just calling a Spade a Spade.

In the end, this honestly isn't the worst movie in the world, and if you are on a date, it could be worse. You could be watching a Freddie Prinze Jr. movie. Don't expect to see a layered story, funky camera tricks, or a mind bending journey. This is Hollywood's idea of a fractured family from beginning to end.

Final Thoughts

If you're really interested in Julia Roberts, or if your special someone wants to see it. Go along for the ride. At the end of 125 minutes you won't want to tear your eyelashes off, nor will you feel completely changed in your life.

5 out of 10 Jackasses
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