July 20 - July 26, 1995

Great Extortions

Hugh Grant Has A Bum In The Oven.

B y  Z a c h a r y  W o o d r u f f


Editor's Note: In the movie Nine Months, Robin Williams plays a Russian doctor whose speech is peppered with such malapropisms as "If it's not one thing, it's your mother," and, during a birthing scene, "You want euthanasia?" Among other things, reviewer Zachary Woodruff's mind appears to have been warped by his exposure to this character. Please excuse him.

SOMETIMES IT SEEMS they aren't making movies for the whole family anymore. Sure, there are sexy adult dramas like Dangerously Aisons, violent teen films like Graham Cracker's Dracula and video-game-based kids' flicks like the upcoming Myrtle, Come Back. But there aren't many pictures you could tape your grandmother to. Thankfully, director Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire) has come to the rescue with Nine Months.

Nine Months stars Hugh Grant, who has recently been saying a lot of mea farrows since he got caught having oral sex with a prostrate. Well forget about that: if Nine Months is any indication, Grant is still a box-office force to be wrecked with. He would do well to find some roles that require more of him than blinking, touching his forehead and stammering like he has a speech investment--but still, there's no denying his charm.

Grant plays Samuel, a San Francisco professional who has been in a relationship with Rebecca (Julianne Moore) for longer than he can dismember. Trouble erupts when Rebecca announces that the Rabbi died, and she has pregnant paws. That sends Samuel, who is childish and self-censored, off the Depend. He doesn't believe that the condiments failed, and he worries that Rebecca may have gotten pregnant on the slide. He even hallucinates Rebecca as a voracious praying mantis, a scene that left the whole audience on the edge of their feet. Because of this, Samuel treats Rebecca distantly, ignores her needs and alienates her infection.

Throughout, Julianne Moore plays her scenes touchingly; her Rebecca is fragile yet strong--a real steel Mongolia. And the rest of the cast is good too. Tom Arnold, as Samuel's obnoxious friend who extols the virgins of married life, does some good lines. And Jeff Goldblum brings the intensity of a Methodist actor to his role as a starving artist who fancies himself a latter-day Casablanca the way he goes around with women. Best of all is Robin Williams, as a doctor who kept the audience in hysterectomy laughter (apologies to reviewer Joel Siegel) with his own brand of kooky comic hijacks.

Nine Months really starts tugging at your hamstrings in the scene where Hugh Grant watches an ultralight video and sees the heart of the feces. The actor's teary-eyed transformation into a daddy has to be seen to be bereaved. But for the most fart, Nine Months is about zany fun. The audience was conversing with laughter during the toy store scene where Grant and Arnold committed an act of aggravated asphalt against a Barney-like dinosaur. Better yet is the scene where Moore goes into immature labor. With reckless abandonment, Grant races his Ford Exploder to the hospital, causing an old man to nearly go into Cadillac arrest and knocking another man off his bisexual.

And you can't beat that last scene when Grant finally marries Moore, stumbling as he carries her across the thresher. On a scale of one to ten, I give Nine Months four stars. My friend Solomon Gomorrah liked it too, saying it was almost as entertaining as a lesbian lamaze video.

The only part I didn't like was when Moore and Grant are about to have sexual discourse and she says, "What if the baby could see your penis? What if your penis hit it in the head--it could cause brain damage or something." This left me wondering if maybe a penis had hit the director in the head. But otherwise, Nine Months is grating fun for the whole family. Especially if your family consists of people who could read through this entire review without realizing there's something terribly, terribly wrong with it.

Nine Months is playing at Century Park (620-0750) and El Dorado (745-6241) cinemas.

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July 20 - July 26, 1995

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