AMERICAN VENUS (Bruce Sweeney). 81 minutes. Opens Friday (October 12). Rating: NN
Or, Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Yes, it is.
Rebecca De Mornay pulls off the nearly impossible here, delivering a great performance despite the fact that her character is written as a cluster of clichés, at once controlling, all-American smother-mother and all-American gun freak.
Celia is scripted as a series of single-minded moments, but De Mornay skips over the interior contradictions as if they weren't there.
When her daughter, Jenna ( Jane McGregor ), moves from Spokane to Vancouver to get away from home, Celia follows to make sure she's unable to breathe in a new context. The funniest parts of the film involve Celia's dismay and disbelief that the authorities would seize her gun at Customs and then make it difficult for her to get another one in Canada.
That said, director Bruce Sweeney seems to think that reiterating clichés about American gun culture is the same as telling daring truths. It isn't, and he has little visual style either.
Fun detail: check Celia's husband's ( Matt Craven ) wardrobe. He seems to have replaced an actor who's about two sizes bigger.