The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge
by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest
selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings.
Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and
conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern
tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor
Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others.
Also included is a detailed Guide to
Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page
Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game
even easier. Click book to order.
by Tony Medley
First time director Mark
Palansky has taken a first time movie script by Leslie Caveny that
intends to tell
a modern fable with a good moral and stretched it out so that 90 minutes
seems more like 900 minutes. This would have been a good half hour
sitcom (which is where Caveny cut her teeth on “Everybody Loves Raymond,
“Mad About You,” and others), but there is far too much filler inserted
to make it last three times that long. Sitting through a film as slow as
this is physically painful. I was exhausted when it was over and my
exhaustion lasted for the rest of the day. Maybe that's why it has
apparently been in the can for two years before being released.
Worse, Palansky and Caveny
don’t have the courage of their convictions. The story is about a young
woman, Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci), who is born with a curse of
looking like a pig. The only problem is that she doesn’t look like a
pig. The only makeup they gave her was a pig’s nose. Other than that,
she looks exactly like a movie star named Christina Ricci. But when all
the men who are courting her for the money run away and jump out of
windows to escape the horror of her ugly face, they appear ridiculous
because she’s not a monster. Actually, except for her nose she is quite
attractive. Had they really wanted to make their point they would have
made her look like Quasimodo’s mother.
Well, the simple story is
that the curse will be on her until she meets a man who will marry her
for herself, not for her looks. That’s a nice moral, but it turns out
that’s not the moral at all.
Thrown into the mix are
Johnny/Max (James McAvoy) who likes her but can’t get beyond her looks,
Edward Vanderman (Simon Woods), who is cruel to her but is forced to
offer to marry her by his father. There are also a selfish, overbearing
mother, Jessica (Catherine O’Hara, who gives a sparkling performance),
and Lemon (Peter Dinklage), who will do anything to get a picture of the
pig girl. So you’ve got a relatively good guy, Johnny/Max, and three bad
guys, Jessie, Edward, and Lemon.
Reese Witherspoon is a
co-producer, so she inserted herself in the film near the end. She
portrays a world-wise babe who befriends Penelope. Reese should have
stayed on the sidelines, but this film probably needed her in the
credits as a star to draw an audience. It’s probably one of the weakest
performances of her career. Thankfully, it’s not much more than a cameo.
This is a sweet story that
should have been a half hour TV show, but the film is far too long and
slow for it to have any meaning or much entertainment value.
February 21, 2008