Cinematic Hell: The Next Best Thing (2000)
You have to be kidding me...ANOTHER MADONNA MOVIE? Ok it's official, my bosses hate me. Either that or they thought I went a little easy on "Body of Evidence". I'll be honest guys, this is going to be a hard one to talk about. There's not much history when it comes to this movie aside from Madonna's bad cover of that song "American Pie". So this movie with it's bad acting, bad writing and whatever else a movie needs to be terrible is like a wet fart. Yes it was an awful experience but then again no one has really remembered it. The Next Best Thing (even the title is patronizing) is one of the last movies Madonna starred in and man I have a lot of questions just around the thought process behind the making of this movie. It's just... UGH!
Abbie Reynolds (Madonna) is a down on her luck type of gal who isn't that great at relationships or is also not great at not being annoying. Seriously, this character and Madonna's dead pan style of reading her lines instead of acting them out are a terrible combo. Anyway she has a gay best friend named Robert (Rupert Everett) who is... gay. Yeah that's pretty much his entire character trait for about half of the movie's 1 hour and 48 minute runtime. So through some stupid contrived night of drinking and acting like idiots, coitus happens between these two supposed best friends. Before I go any further, I need to discuss this. Unlike Gigli, this movie has an excuse for Robert's homosexuality disappearing for about 3 or 5 minutes. However, I don't buy it. Before and after this drunken night, these two don't act Will and Grace, they act like they have a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. In fact just like Gigli, this entire on screen chemistry between Everett and Madonna is very bizarre. Even when the whole "we just drank too much and so that's why I was straight for one night" comes up it's hard to believe. I'm not much of a drinker, but seriously how drunk do you have to be in order to forget what sexuality you are? Because by the look of these drunken scenes, these two morons didn't drink that much in order for this excuse to be valid.
Unfortunately, there's more story. After the supposed drunken night of passion, Abbie gets pregnant and she assumes (quite stupidly) that Robert is the father. They both decide to raise the resulting child together and that's the movie. The thing is there's one half of this movie that's completely unneeded: that half just turns out to be the main plot. Yeah this whole pregnancy thing and different family issues thing is so unnecessary because well... this screenwriter and/or director have no idea what they're talking about. This movie is trying so hard to explore different parenting styles and different types of family living but yeah it just falls flat on it's face. Maybe this main plot would be a lot more bearable if there was more thought into the main themes and of course if the characters were likeable or relatable.
Too bad we have to spend almost 2 hours with some of the most selfish and stupid human beings ever put on film. I would say the only redeemable character (which even then that's not saying much) is Rupert Everett's character. He genuinely shows a lot of love and care for this child. Everett's character is also the only person to have a character arc. At the beginning of the movie, he's just an early 2000's gay stereotype. But toward the end he's only one who truly changes throughout the picture. Don't get me wrong, he still has his share of stupid moments but at least he has two brain cells to rub together. However everybody else is either a cardboard cut out or an evil person who just loves playing the victim card. Madonna's character is suppose to be a sympathetic mother caught in between right and wrong but really she's just wrong. I almost want to give away this plot twist but who knows maybe someone wants to see this movie.... oh God who gives a shit? In the words of Maury: "In the case of Sam, Robert you are NOT the father"!
I'm sorry, I might get a lot of flack from my bosses by giving away this plot twist but I'm doing this as a favor to any unfortunate soul who wants to actually see this pile of cinematic drivel. Yes, for three whole years Abbie completely withheld the secret that some guy we barely saw in the first five minutes of the movie is actually the father of little Sam. So that means this entire plot was a huge fucking scam and we are suppose to feel sorry for this woman? NO FUCKING WAY! Again, they try to redeem the Abbie character by her feeling bad that her lawyer is using homophobic tactic from the NOT father from seeing his son.
I'm sorry guys, but I can't take anymore of this. The Next WORST Thing is just so misinformed about LGBT issues, family issues and misinformed mainly on how to be a good movie. I do admit it was quite daring to make a movie like this when LGBT issues weren't at the fore front and we were mainly portrayed as stereotypes in both TV and Film. However, this is by no mean a progressive film when it comes to LGBT characters or issues. This movie is a homophobic, poorly written, terribly acted and regressive piece of cinematic trash. And the saddest thing about this movie's existence is the fact... it was nominated for a GLADD award. Yep, I'm not kidding. It was nominated for Outstanding Film apparently. I weep for humanity sometimes. But a bigger question remains. Madonna has a huge gay following and yet she choose to be in this movie... but WHY? Was she that desperate to be an actress? Ugh whatever, I'm so done. Score: 1/10.