28 Days (2000)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Addiction Drama, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 14, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Karl Williams

The deft comic touch of director Betty Thomas is too light for this comedy-drama about recovery from substance abuse, written by screenwriter Susannah Grant, who enjoyed greater box-office and critical success one month earlier with Erin Brockovich (2000). Although there's nothing wrong with mining a serious issue for comic effect, Thomas and Grant devise a feel-good, goofy tone for the film that's jarring given the subject matter -- addiction -- which would seem to demand a more satirical touch. 28 Days is also far too diffuse in its attention to its main character, Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock). Although Bullock delivers an excellent performance that forces the all-American beauty to display a surprisingly churlish selfishness, the supporting cast is top-heavy with two-dimensional character types that compete for screen time. As a result, wasted are superb performers such as Steve Buscemi, Reni Santoni, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, who are relegated to near-cameo roles. This preponderance of supporting characters and story threads glosses over the more interesting aspects of the film, specifically Gwen's fascinating recovery issues -- her choice of a co-dependent mate (well played by Dominic West), her combative relationship with her sister (Elizabeth Perkins), and her history with an alcoholic mother. Stuffed into the middle is a romance with a handsome baseball player (Viggo Mortensen), a device that strains the already busy script to its limits. Containing several amusing moments and a handful of probing insights, 28 Days possesses too few of either to be counted as a successful comedy or to be classed among alcoholism dramas like The Lost Weekend (1945), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and Clean and Sober (1988).