Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
The practicing alcoholic is familiar with a gnawing feeling in the pit of the stomach - the guilt at letting other people down, the remorse at letting himself down. Criticism in any form is likely to be met with anger, because nothing you can tell him will make him feel worse than the things he tells himself.
In the opening scenes of "Postcards from the Edge," a new comedy based on Carrie Fisher's journey through addiction, this feeling is evoked so well that you begin to suffer along with the film's heroine, played by Meryl Streep. Then the movie forgets its original impulse and turns into a comedy of manners.
The story involves Suzanne, a young actress who has a more-famous actress for her mother. The father, also famous, has been misplaced somewhere along the way. As the film opens, Suzanne has awakened in the bed of yet another boyfriend she does not quite remember meeting. Her life has become a confusion of blackouts, memory lapses, screw-ups on the set and behavior that baffles even her. All that keeps her going on the set of a movie are the frequent visits to her dressing room of a woman who sells her cocaine.
Streep plays this character with a kind of defiant sweetness that recalls the late Irene Dunne. She is not a bad person, and she doesn't want to cause trouble for anybody, but her drug usage has befuddled her to the point where she's not much use. Her mother (Shirley MacLaine) is also a basket case - a maintenance alcoholic who is never far from her glass of chilled white wine. But because wine is socially acceptable and drugs are not, the mother is able to deny her problem while lecturing her daughter to the point of distraction. Meanwhile, MacLaine's latest husband sleeps most of the time, possibly as a way of avoiding his wife's voice.