[Sidebar] The Worcester Phoenix
January 29 - February 5, 1999

[Movie Reviews]

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Gloria RIn John Cassavetes's 1980 original, Gena Rowlands eats nails as a former moll trying to save a little Puerto Rican boy wanted by the mob. She shoots up a carload of thugs and outsmarts an oily don, and only in the end does she defrost her motherly urges.

By casting Sharon Stone in the role, Sidney Lumet's tedious remake sheds more than just Rowlands's practical trenchcoat. Poured into plunging black Versace and doing her best Fran Drescher, Stone softens Rowlands's portrait of repressed maternity into a kinder, gentler Gloria. From the get-go, this broad feels a uterine pull for the orphaned moppet (Jean-Luke Figueroa) and even -- oh gawd! -- cries.

Stone is plenty poignant, but without the intrigue of Gloria's maternal metamorphosis, Lumet, the man behind such gritty '70s crime dramas as Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, peels off into the familiar territory of car crashes and urban foot chases. Adding a surreal air of pallor to the already dull action is George C. Scott in the unlikely role of Irish mob kingpin. In the end, this Gloria goes down as another film in which Stone's material doesn't fit nearly as well as her dress.

-- Alicia Potter

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