Fortunately all this seriousness is broken up by the antics of Grandma Phyllis and Carter’s kindhearted attempts to take care of her. The always hilarious Olympia Dukakis steals the show as the belligerent grandmother. To the rest of the world she’s just a mean old shut-in, but we see she has a heart of gold. As many times as we’ve seen this character in a movie, you would think we would tire of it. But Dukakis makes it all fun to watch. And for the most part, the acting in “Land of Women” is exceptional, and the characters are likable. If only they had something interesting to do and say in all the long scenes of walking and talking, but the banal dialogue is hard to stomach.

As the story plods along to its conclusion, the meaning of it all is a bit muddled. We’re just not sure where things are going here until the end (and not in the cool mystery way like on the TV show “Lost”). Despite the self-absorption of Carter, Sarah and Lucy, they manage to help one another grow into better people. Only in the movies does such narcissism give us a happy ending.

AUDIENCE:  Adults (Don’t let the trailers fool you. This is not a teen romantic comedy.)

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  A handful of obscenities and profanities.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Carter writes screenplays for “soft-core porn” movies for a living although he longs to write things that are more redeeming. Some of his cringe-worthy “work” is described. Carter (in his mid-twenties) develops romantic relationships with both mom Sarah (who is married) and her teenage daughter Lucy (still in high school), although these don’t seem to progress physically beyond kissing. Sarah’s husband is having an affair that everyone knows about but no one confronts him on. Grandma Phyllis comes to the door without her pants on. Nothing graphic is shown and it is played for laughs.
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Lucy hides her smoking from parents. Drinking shown at party full of teens. Adult characters drink wine at dinner.
  • Violence:  Fist fight at a party.
  • Worldview:  Sarah may have cancer which leads to good deal of discussion about sickness and death. Daughter Paige admits to stealing cash from her mother.