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Connect Savannah 09.06.06

The first motion picture produced by Country Music Television, Broken Bridges has no business playing in multiplexes, given that it basically warbles “made-for-TV� throughout its entire running time. In his feature film debut, country music star Toby Keith plays Bo Price, a -- you guessed it -- country music star who’s fallen on hard times thanks to booze and bad memories. He returns to his tiny hometown at the same time as Angela Delton (Kelly Preston), the woman he impregnated and abandoned 16 years earlier. Hoping to start anew, Bo does his best to not only break down Angela’s defenses but also those of Dixie (Lindsey Haun), the daughter he’s meeting for the first time. Keith, who never changes expressions over the course of this generic film (he remains as rigid as a bookcase), may receive top billing, but he’s trumped at every turn in his own star vehicle: Haun easily bests him in both the acting and singing departments. Willie Nelson makes a welcome appearance as himself, while Burt Reynolds, his face nearly as immobile as Keith’s, grumbles endlessly as Angela’s disapproving dad. Perhaps not since George Strait shut eyelids nationwide with 1992’s Pure Country has C&W had it so bad on screen. w 1/2

Before Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh, there was George Reeves. Kirk Alyn may have originated the role of Superman on screen in a pair of 1940s serials, but it was Reeves who was most identified with the part, thanks to the hit TV series that ran throughout much of the 1950s. But in 1959, Reeves apparently committed suicide, though speculation has always run rampant that the hulking actor was actually the victim of foul play. Hollywoodland is a fictionalized take on this theory, centering on a smalltime detective (Adrien Brody) as he sets off to uncover the truth. Was Reeves (Ben Affleck) murdered by his opportunistic girlfriend (Robin Tunney), a gold digger who ran out of patience once she realized his career would never amount to more? By his older lover (Diane Lane), who feared she might be losing him for good? By the woman’s husband (Bob Hoskins), a powerful studio executive known for tying up loose ends? Or, in the final analysis, did Reeves really pull the trigger himself? Hell if anyone knows for sure, and that includes the makers of this film, who trot out every conceivable scenario without ever committing to one. Still, that’s hardly a flaw, as the open-endedness allows this handsome picture to tantalizingly jump back and forth between its colorful characters. The performances are uniformly fine -- Affleck has been a punching bag for so long now that his solid work here will surprise many -and the movie richly offers nostalgiatwinged visions of vintage LA. w

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Connect Savannah September 6, 2006  

Connect Savannah September 6, 2006