Hanging Up

How lame is this? Oh, what an annoying, boring, pointless picture. It’s a chick flick at its worst. Just endless, empty chatter, a lot of whining and some cutesy Kodak moments. Urgh! “Hanging Up” is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Delia Nephron, who wrote the screenplay with her sister Nora, director of such wonderful romantic comedies as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail”. Ephron didn’t direct this time, leaving it to Diane Keaton, who also stars in the film alongside Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow as the three daughters of a dying old man played by Walter Matthau.

The film mostly focuses on Eve (Ryan), the middle child, a sweet, neurotic, ultra sensitive blonde who’s always running around and doing too many things at the same time. She works as a party planner in and around L.A., and she’s got a nice enough husband and a kid to tend to, and then there’s her cell phone which never ever stops ringing, mostly because her sisters keep calling. And now her father is worse than ever at 79, and she feels she has to spend time at his side before it’s too late. The old man can be a handful, disoriented, confused, alcoholic, womanizing old jerk that he is, but still…. it’s her dad. And it’s not as if he has anybody else. T he mother of his children left him decades ago, and Eve’s sisters are not as motivated to nurse the old geezer. Georgia (Keaton) is the ambitious, successful, self-empowered career woman, and she’s busy putting together the 5th anniversary issue of her magazine, named… Georgia. As for Maddie (Kudrow), an actress in a cheesy daytime soap, her being the youngest sibling seems to take away her responsibilities or something. Oh well…

I think the most shocking thing about “Hanging Up” is how flat and shallow it is despite the constant babbling and running around. These three working blondes never stop yakking, sometimes on two phones at the same time while attending a business meeting! Talkative movies can be interesting, but not if the characters aren’t actually saying anything. Diane Keaton’s wooden direction doesn’t help. Her film lacks any originality, any real style or energy. It’s all chicks talking fast, Walther Matthau ranting nonsense, and generic flashbacks of better times. For most of the movie, I had no idea what it was about or where it was going. Okay, Dad’s gonna die and the sisters are sorta kinda competitive between each other… Then what? Delia Ephron doesn’t even have anything profound to say about that. It’s just a phony, inane film which runs long at 92 minutes, that’s what an empty vessel it is.

I’m telling you, this movie is a waste of time. This is a good cast they gathered here, but they can’t do much with such weak writing and direction. Where is the usual Ephron satirical edge, the witty observations, the too-good-to-be-true romance? “Hanging Up” is disconnected, uninvolving and tiresome. Don’t bother, really, this ain’t even worth a rental.