Perfect Patsy, Too-Perfect Parent

Denzel Washington in Out of Time, Olympia Dukakis in The Event

Not that the topic is up for serious discussion. Fitzgerald stacks the deck against opponents of assisted suicide, a practice that, however widespread within and outside the gay community, remains an enormously thorny issue—especially so in this movie, since Matt decides to kill himself while he's still relatively healthy. Fitzgerald firmly positions us on the side of the angels, which is not necessarily the most interesting place to be: If you can't argue the point, glibness invariably results. Parker Posey, saddled with the thankless task of playing both a moral enemy and the movie's framing device, is Nic, the ambitious young DA who, despite the fact that her own cancer-stricken father died a lingering and painful death, hounds Matt's nearest and dearest for information about his suspiciously orderly demise. Hard of face and harder yet of heart, Nic is all too clearly headed for a life lesson. But her worst sin is a complete lack of femininity, a trait Fitzgerald blindly worships in its most traditional forms, whether manifested in mothers, sisters or drag queens.

All-forgiving, unfailingly supportive, and never less than elegantly coifed and tailored even while cleaning up her son's shit, Lila Shapiro (played by Olympia Dukakis with impressive dignity) is the parent we all want—and someone who has never existed in this world. Matt's hotheaded younger sister, even as played by the terrific Sarah Polley, is only marginally more believable. The most interesting person in the movie is Matt's dissenting older sister, Gaby (Joanna P. Adler), the one who must be brought round to the correct point of view. As reasoning, this is manipulative—as filmmaking, it's dull.

Out Of Time was directed by Carl Franklin; written by Dave Collard; produced by Neal H. Moritz and Jesse B'franklin; and stars Denzel Washington, Sanaa Latham and Eva Mendes. Now playing countywide.

The Event was directed by Thom Fitzgerald; written by Tim Marback, Steven Hillyer and Fitzgerald; produced by Bryan Hofbauer and Fitzgerald; and stars Don Mckellar and Parker Posey. Now playing at Edwards South Coast Village, Santa Ana, and UA Marketplace, Long Beach.

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