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Year: 2001
Director: Patrick Stettner
Stars: Stockard Channing, Julia Stiles, Frederick Weller, Mary Testa, Jack Hallett, Marcus Giamatti
Genre: Drama
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: When new corporate assistant Paula arrives late for a business meeting, thus screwing up a vital deal, she is unceremoneously fired by her high-flying boss, Julie Styron (Channing). Hours later, their paths cross again and a few rounds of drinks set things right as the gals swap 'then and now' tales, before moving on to career aspirations; it turns out that Paula (Stiles) has a talent for penning short stories based on real life, rather than fiction. Enter one Nick Harris (Weller), a headhunter who, Paula claims, once raped her best friend. After receiving a knockout dose of - get this - Julie's HRT tablets, Nick is at the mercy of the two inebriated women who aim to teach him a lesson.

For his first feature, Stettner has constructed an acutely observed study of a successful woman whose entire life seems to be drawn towards a career death wish; in fact, this promising writer/director has delivered probably the best account of female mid-life crisis since Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, with Channing on top form, closely followed by a wonderfully ambiguous turn from Frederick Weller.

Sure, Stettner does go a couple of minutes beyond what would have been a fitting finale, but don't let this detract from a remarkably assured debut. By the way, my money says he was guilty!
Reviewer: Steve Langton


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