Sandra Bullock is the best thing about this movie, everything she does rings emotionally true while she still manages to be funny. Ellen Burstyn also shines as the older Vivi. However, her coven of friends seem to be stretching to play Southern women - two of them (Maggie Smith and Fionnula Flanagan) are not even American, and somehow I was aware of this throughout. The story is also an uneasy mix of really awful personal histories and bad behavior, with lighthearted comic touches of wacky Southern women. For me, it didn't work. Vivi had so much spunk and humor as a young girl, and also as an older woman. Where she falls flat and seems like an entirely different person from the other two is her years as a young woman, played by Ashley Judd. For some reason, whenever Ashley Judd is on screen, the movie just seems to go flat. I just don't believe her as this wacky, spunky, fiery troubled woman. You can see her acting in every scene, and it's tiresome. And, in the scene where she supposedly whips her children, she's clearly holding back - it's like a fight scene where you see how the fist misses the chin.