Bringing Up Bobby Reviews
(2012) Bringing Up Bobby
Co-written by actress Famke Janson, directed and starring Milla Jovovich as single mother Olive an Ukrainian woman who's trying to raise her 11 year old son Bobby right, who she'll probably won't get any 'mother of the year' awards since she lies, cheats and steals during her stay as an American citizen. And because the movie is about 11 year old Bobby, it shows him to be a total douche as both their worlds come for the turn for the worst as she gets arrested. Resorting her to give up custody to a wealthy family (Bill Pullman and Marcia Cross) who has coincidently had just lost their own son. And once Olive is let out, her son Bobby resorts back to his bad behaviour again. Strictly-by-the-book plot with nothing people can't come up with by themselves. And I also have to say that it's hard to sympathize with characters who initially act like a couple of self indulgent douches.
2 out of 4 stars
With the exception of Bill Pullman's easygoing charm as its sole saving grace, "Bringing Up Bobby" is a slapdash and amateurish movie. Otherwise, the performances mostly consist of cartoon accents which is a shame because Milla Jovovich proved she can act when she held her own previously in "Stone" with Edward Norton and Robert De Niro. With "Bringing up Bobby," the contrived story has little going beneath its rough surface in taking so much time in exploring how bad a mother Olive is when in fact it could have gotten quite a bit darker in exploring her questionable motivations.
We really enjoyed the film, it's very funny in places and also very sad in others. Like life really. It's directed by first time director Famke Janssen of 'X-Men' fame.
Having watched the film it also made me want to see 'The Fifth Element' again so I can fall in love with Liloo all over again!
The story is about a mother who came to America looking for a better future for her and for her son. But instead of a better future she has turned to a life of conning and stealing. This eventually lands her in Prison and her son off and adopted by a man who accidently hit her son with his car.
That right there says enough about this film. Not seeing this again obviously."
Milla Jovovich's performance is not bad at all, in my opinion, but Bill Pullman is a different story. Part of his problem is a script that has him blurting out awkward lines in a so-so Oklahoma accent (in particular, the line "Try this on for size" sounded almost sexual, and not in any good way.) Spencer List plays a mostly annoying little dink, but when he's not getting in trouble, he's acting like a weirdo (no kid I know ever actually shouts "Yippee!", even if most of his upbringing has revolved around old-timey cinema.) Rory Cochrane is OK, but occasionally suffers from the awkward dialogue himself, but gets some leeway from me because his character is rarely supposed to be sober anyway. Pullman was given no such luxury.
The story was OK, immigrant con-artist single mother wants to live out the American Dream, then finds out that's hard to do when you have stereotypical bible-thumping neighbors, I guess. Bill Pullman hits the kid with his car but unfortunately does not back up and do it again, instead he decides that this wholly unappealing child is exactly what he and his wife need to fill the void in their life left by their own deceased child. A lot of this feels fairly predictable as you sit and watch, but there is a momentary twist towards the end that works fairly well. Maybe a little bit too happy of an ending, but ambiguous enough to make you not 100% sure. God, I hope they weren't thinking sequel.
Janssen was also nice enough to share a story about getting Cat Stevens' personal OK to use his music in a particular scene; all in all, she was an extremely cool guest and I can appreciate her feeling very close to this story, Famke being a native of the Netherlands (go ahead, say it: "I'd like to visit her netherlands, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN" :| oh my) who came to America to build a career and such, but I doubt her actual experience was this chock-full of 1-dimensional characters who can't converse like normal human beings. Then again, Hollywood. . .anyway, my point is, for a writing/directorial debut, it's average, particularly the writing. I've forgotten most of the technical aspects of this movie, but as it's a family drama with occasional attempts at comedy, they're not going to wow you with special effects. I give it 50%, in part because I did get the chance to hear the director give everyone in attendance an extra bit of insight as to her motivations for this project. It's not great, but I hope she tries directing again.