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Labor Day

A mess of a melodrama about a lonely housewife and the escaped convict who loves her

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A depressed, lonely divorcee (Kate Winslet) allows an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) to spend a long weekend with her and her 13-year-old son (Gattlin Griffith) in Jason Reitman's drama, adapted from Joyce Maynard's novel. Well, that sure sounds like a bad idea, but the "bad guy" turns out to be a dream date — bonding with the lad, fixing up the house and car, and making the world's most soulful peach pie.

What is a bad idea is this film: some good actors mired in a treacly mess of loopy melodrama, executed rather poorly. (The flashbacks were quite confusing.) The maligned prisoner who just needs the love of a good woman is as hoary a romantic notion as the hooker with the heart of gold who just needs to meet that good man. This might have been an edgy story, fraught with the possibilities of terrible things happening when vulnerable people face a crisis. But, gee whiz, everybody in this outing is so noble, so wholesome, so peach-pie wonderful, that none of it makes any sense beyond being silly love story.

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