The confused script trades in such heavy topics as alcoholism and child sexual abuse, but every dramatic scene plays like one of those schmaltzy Happy Days moments that inevitably drew a big 'Awwwwww!' from the studio audience.
You'd think that decree No. 1 for a movie about rules would be to know exactly what kind of picture you're making and selling. Georgia Rule fails that basic test, and a whole lot of other ones besides.
The American public likes nothing better than a tragedy with a happy ending, William Dean Howells observed. But Marshall so cautiously downplays the tragic elements of his plot that the sweetness and light left a sour taste in my mouth.