A Prairie Home Companion

A Film Review By Jeff Fro

Starring: Garrison Keillor, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, John C. Reilly
Directed By: Robert Altman
Rated:PG-13 for sexual references
Review Posted: July 25th, 2006

Final Grade:

Long ago Garrison Keillor started a radio show about a fictional Minnesota town. It contained stories and songs all in an old fashioned way which harken to a simpler time and simpler people.

I have to say up front that I was never a fan of the show. I never took the time to get the humor or tone. The comedy was so dry and it always seemed that it was all some big inside joke. Obviously I did not get the joke.

Now we have a film presentation of the last day for this radio show. It stars Keillor as himself and a cast of impressive players. First let me say that Garrison Keillor has a face for radio, he is uncomfortable to watch on the screen.

Let me just take the cast in groups and break them down:

Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin are singing sisters who were once part of a larger singing family until various tragic events paired the act down to just the two of them. They have a nice rapport and its fun for a while watching them play off each other. Meryl’s character has a daughter who is tagging along. She is played by Lindsey Lohan. I have read that Lohan was used so that younger audiences would want to see the film. Heaven help the teens that wander into this movie. Lohan is adequate in the role. She is handed what should be the big ending to the radio show at the last minute and is supposed to be improvising a song. That moment was a flat line for me.

Virginia Madsen and Kevin Kline play an angel and security guard respectively. At first it seems that only Kevin Kline can see the angel, but soon it seems that almost anyone can see her and then she claims to be the angel of death and she takes the lives of two people in the most uneventful way possible. Kevin Kline is the worst security guard ever. He dresses like he is going to a funeral, but hey maybe he was.

Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly are two performers on the show. They are billed as the last cowboys in America or something like that. They basically tell bawdy jokes and make fun of each other for most of the film. They actually provided some of the highlights and a few of the only real laughs.

Tommy Lee Jones plays the big business man who comes to shut down the show. They could have used a cardboard cut out of him really.

Eventually all of these people come together for the end of the road. They are all nostalgic and sad to see the end of an era.

I was not one of the sad ones.

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