Labor Day is a Big, Gooey Mess of a Movie
- Friday, January 31, 2014
Making an uncomfortable car ride even more uncomfortable, Frank lets Adele and Henry in on a little secret—he's an escaped convict. Naturally, this doesn't set well with Adele initially, but as long as he agrees not to hurt them—and leave by sundown—she's surprisingly calm about the new arrangement.
It helps that Frank isn't your stereotypical criminal. Murder conviction and all, he's apparently quite a sweetie. Just in case Adele was ever accused of harboring a fugitive, Frank decides it's best if it looks like he kidnapped her. But when he ties her to a dining room chair, he exercises extreme care and doesn't even bother with Henry. Then in a feat that Rachael Ray would certainly approve of, he uses what's in the pantry to whip up a pot of chili and feeds Adele one delicious spoonful after the next.
If that wasn’t enough to score the "World's Best Felon" award, Frank also fixes Adele's broken fence, takes the squeak out of the floors and door hinges, cleans the rain gutters and teaches Henry how to properly throw a baseball. Really, it's no surprise that Adele is suffering from a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome. Frank is the man she's always wanted in her life, you know minus those pesky legal pratfalls.
Funny enough, as laughable as the movie already is, it only gets worse as the moments tick on, thanks to a supporting performance by a homemade peach pie of all things. In addition to all his other swoon-worthy qualities, Frank also bakes. In a scene that recalls that iconic but cringe-inducing scene where Patrick Swayze romances Demi Moore at the pottery wheel in Ghost, Frank, Adele and Henry collectively sink their hands into the pie, thus fashioning the world's worst exercise in literary symbolism in the process.
Give Reitman credit for one thing, he fully commits to this schlock. Bathed in gorgeous summer light and accompanied by a soundtrack that hits all the right notes of sadness and longing, Labor Day makes forbidden romance look as appealing as possible. But if that's not your idea of a good time, well, there's plenty of opportunities for eye-rolling and unintentional laughter, probably not exactly what Reitman was going for.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Drugs/Alcohol: None
- Language/Profanity: A single misuse of Jesus’s name.
- Sex/Nudity: A few sexual innuendos. Adele has a brief conversation about sex with her 13-year-old son, Henry. Henry occasionally fantasizes about attractive girls (no nudity, and the sequences aren’t overly explicit). Henry has a discussion with a fellow teen about their Mom's sex lives (the scene is mostly played for laughs). It's clearly implied that Adele and Frank sleep together (Henry hears them since they’re just one room over).
- Violence: A woman slaps her mentally challenged son across the face. A man has quite a few wounds after falling out of a hospital's window. A baby accidentally drowns. During a fight, a woman dies after hitting her head on a radiator. A woman suffers multiple miscarriages, and we see blood dripping down her leg. A woman gives birth to a baby girl that isn't breathing.
Publication date: January 31, 2014
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