review for The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom on AllMovie

The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (1993)
by Brian J. Dillard review

Although it contains many amusing moments and a good deal of insight into both small-town politics and big-media shenanigans, this fact-based Michael Ritchie spoof is too broad to succeed fully. Holly Hunter sinks her satiric teeth into the role of a predatory mother of humble origins who's eager for her supremely average daughter to do great things. But this is the sort of role the actress has played over and over, and Jane Anderson's one-note script doesn't give her much new to work with. The always-game Swoosie Kurtz shows up in another of her innumerable hothouse-flower-on-the-verge roles. Of the grown-ups, then, only Beau Bridges, as her self-deluded 12-step husband, approaches his role with anything approaching restraint. The youngsters in the cast do hit their marks with professional aplomb, from vacuous daughter Frankie Ingrassia to bit player Giovanni Ribisi. Unfortunately, the script's media satire is fairly by-the-numbers, and constant passing references to early '90s global politics do little to lend the material bite. One has only to look to a film such as Election or To Die For to see how this sort of material can be played for subtle, nuanced laughs. Positively True Adventures is all about the obvious chuckle.