Starring: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West
Director: Betty Thomas
Running Time: 103 mins
28 Days is an American film about a young woman who, after causing a scene at her sister’s wedding due to her drunken behaviour, is sent to spend 28 days in a rehab centre where she tries to fight against the system.
Well, for something that’s labelled as a pseudo-romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, this was pretty unexpected. It’s got some funny humour here and there, but most of it’s not so great, whilst the romance is just as cheesy as anything and isn’t at all interesting, however it does succeed in showing some of the more dramatic parts of this woman’s time in rehab, although not to the full extent that you really need to be encapsulated by the drama of this story.
Let’s start with the fact that this basically isn’t a comedy at all. Whether that’s inadvertent due to the poor quality of the majority of the jokes throughout isn’t certain, but it’s needless to say that it’s not a film full of laughs from the various slapstick gags, nor is it the crazy buddy comedy that it appears to be in the opening stages.
However, that may be on purpose, because the main objective of this film is to talk about the hardships of a woman going through a tough time in her life, and trying to find herself in a rehab centre when all else is lost, and in that, there is actually a prevailing atmosphere here that is pretty heavy-going, but is surprisingly deep and interesting for a film that seems initially tonally confused between comedy and dramedy.
Despite the drama being the most interesting part of the whole story, it doesn’t really succeed in making it an emotional and wholly engrossing drama. There are parts of this film that are really meant to shock you or grab you, but it never really achieves that, due to the fact that it’s occasionally too comedic to be sensitive, and just isn’t that well-written to be convincingly dramatic.
One of the things that is a surprise about this film is the acting. It’s nice to see Sandra Bullock doing something a little bit different and rebellious to her normal happy-go-lucky stereotype, and she pulls its off to a certain extent here, which was a bit of a surprise. What’s more is that this film stars Dominic West, Steve Buscemi and Viggo Mortensen in supporting roles, who actually give it all they’ve got in a film that never really seems to try so hard, which was even better to see, and definitely improves the film as a whole.
Finally, there is a romance in here, and it’s pretty pointless. Yes, you could say that it adds a certain extra level to the character development, but that could have been shown in a much quicker and more convincing way, whereas this overly drawn-out romance is just too cheesy to fit into the dramatic story here, taking the sensitive qualities of this film away to some extent.
Overall, this gets a 6.3, because despite being a relatively interesting and dramatic story with strong performances, the poor comedy, confused atmosphere and cheesy romance don’t make it a properly engrossing watch.