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some talented actresses are blessed with a demonstrated wide acting range while others , almost as gifted , have more limited types of parts for which they are suitable .
as was amply evident after basic instinct , sharon stone can play sensual roles with great abandon .
rejecting her natural abilities , she has spent the rest of her entire career trying with little success to play against type .
gloria is her latest disaster .
babe ruth didn't quit baseball after one season to play football in a quixotic quest to prove his athletic dexterity , and neither should stone reject what she does best .
janeane garofalo , for example , is no less wonderful an actress because she could have never pulled off stone's part in basic instinct ; neither is stone any less talented because she couldn't do garofalo's comedic roles .
gloria , directed by respected director sidney lumet and adapted by steve antin from the 1980 screenplay by john cassavetes , was not screened in advance for critics , almost always a sign that the studio isn't behind the picture .
after seeing it in a nearly empty audience after it opened , it is clear why they held it from the press .
it is a film more to be endured than enjoyed .
as the story opens , an angry gloria ( stone ) is being released from prison after 3 years confinement .
she's got a bad attitude and a big mouth .
she also has a bad case of wavering and overblown new york accents , a disease suffered by much of the rest of the cast .
an annoying child actor named jean-luke figueroa plays a soon-to-be orphan named nicky .
just before his whole family is gunned down by hoods working for gloria's ex-boyfriend kevin ( jeremy northam ) , nicky's dad gives him a banana yellow floppy disk with secrets about kevin's operation and offers him a piece of fatherly advice .
" be a man , " his father lectures him sternly .
" don't trust nobody .
not no broads .
nobody . "
most of the film's leaden dialog is delivered with the emotive power of the automated time and temperature announcements .
add in the movie's almost non-existent background noise and the excruciatingly slow pacing , and you can hear the sounds of the lines falling to the ground like stones .
lumet places his actors in the frames like fruit in a still life painting .
they stand awkwardly mouthing the stiff sentences that pass for discourse .
( " say you're my baby , " kevin coos demandingly .
" i'm not gonna , " gloria pouts back . )
the movie has a plethora of logical flaws and implausibilites .
the kid rarely seems the least bit worried or scared , no matter how many people are after him with guns , trying to kill him .
and in one key scene , the yellow floppy he holds is assumed to be the right disk without checking it and is further assumed never to have been copied .
gloria , who keeps saying how she hates kids , takes nicky under her wing and protects him from kevin and the bad guys .
think her maternal instincts will show up before the movie finally and predictably ends ?
if you don't know the answer , you may be just the right viewer for this film .
you have to say this for stone : she can keep a straight face .
when explaining life to a 7-year-old kid , she says with utter seriousness , " you got a lot of love making to make ; you got a lot of boozing to do . "
gloria runs 1 : 48 .
it is rated r for profanity , violence and brief male nudity and would be acceptable for teenagers .
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