Grandma Review: The Wrong Side of the Bed

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On paper, Grandma is a great movie. Lily Tomlin plays a sassy, progressive grandmother to a young girl who just found out she’s pregnant and is scared. That is just a winning premise in an age where feminism in film is talked about as importantly as a good script. But something is missing here.

While Grandma hits all its narrative beats, gets a few big laughs, and continues the push for society to accept a number of things, Tomlin seems disappointingly off her game. With a script that relies so heavily on her to be grouchy but lovable, the former comes through much more than the latter. That’s where Tomlin’s one-liners should come in to save the film, but they are sadly uninspired and overused jokes.

The collaborative effort between Tomlin and the writers is too often not in sync. For the most part, while Tomlin sells the emotional growth the best she can, we’re left with a hollow character that says all the things you expect grouchy grandmothers to say.

Luckily, the character’s backstory and will to fight are inspiring. Her outlook on life is never questioned, as she pushes her family into the larger realm of acceptance. So while the emotional payoff is mostly earned, some lines are too phoned-in to ignore. This is a film that isn’t as raw as it thinks it is, and Tomlin seems bored by it. Grade: B-

By Matt Dougherty

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