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'Don't Tell' doesn't have much to say

October 14, 2005|Randy Cordova | The Arizona Republic

A dismal soap opera trying to pass itself off as art-house finery, "Don't Tell" is wrongheaded in almost every department, with a lame script, bad acting and clueless direction.

Rachel (Alison Eastwood) is a restaurateur living in Los Angeles when word comes that her hard-drinking dad has died. The news comes courtesy of her sister, Izzy (Bonnie Root). She plays the role with a bourbon in hand and a dripping Southern accent, as if she's starring in a dinner-theater production of "Steel Magnolias." She's also prone to such navel-gazing moments as holding a doll while whining, "Did you know that Barbie's waist is much smaller than it was when we were young?" That passes for a slice-of-life moment in this mess.

Wan Rachel comes home to dreary Izzy in their small hometown. The third member of the Johannes family, estranged brother Yale, soon joins them, making for one uninspiring trio. Yale is played by studly James Wlcek, whose credits include stints on "As the World Turns" and "Ryan's Hope." No offense to soap actors, but Wlcek's bland handsomeness and acting style seem tailor-made for daytime heartbreak.

But back to our clan. There's a secret in the family's past, which isn't too hard to guess. The movie is filled with lots of cryptic conversations and black-and-white flashbacks involving Dad shouting, kids cowering and other overwrought scenes of despair.

To grab your old copy of "Flowers in the Attic" and read about family dysfunction in a trashy, fun way would be better than suffering through dysfunctionality in this lifeless muck.


'Don't Tell'

MPAA rating: Unrated

Times guidelines: Profanity, sexual content/nudity, violence and adult subject matter

A Quantum/Moviebank release. Director Isaac Eaton. Screenplay Julie Anne Koehnen. Producers Peer J. Oppenheimer. Director of photography Mike King. Editor Patrick Gallagher.

1 hour, 28 minutes.

Exclusively at Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino (818) 981-9811.

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