Since You've Been Gone
Reviewed by Tom Panarese
Rating: 3 Beans
our words: Directed by David Schwimmer.
Four more words: It's not that bad.
I'm only 24, so I have yet to attend a high school reunion, but based on the people I've run into at the bars in my hometown, I probably already have. Anyway, that's completely besides the point. "Since You've Been Gone" was a relatively unnoticed cable release that came out among the deluge of high school reunion movies in the late 1990s (the best of which was "Grosse Pointe Blank"), and the only thing it really has going for it at first glance is the amount of "still too good for Hollywood Squares" cast members.
It's been three years and three viewings, but I think I've finally discovered what was funny about this movie. "Since You've Been Gone" shows a night in the life of several characters. The particular evening in question, of course, is the class of 1987's tenth reunion, set in a swingin' Chicago hotel.
So what have you been doing for ten years? Well, Zane (Joey Slotnick) has written a hit song that someone else sings; Kevin (Philip Rayburn Smith) is a doctor who's basically the "I don't want to go" bitter guy (added catch--the reunion committee thought he was dead); Electra (Laura Eason) is a pathetic loser whose two friends, plane-crash survivor Holly (Heidi Stillman) and international businesswoman (Teri Hatcher) clearly outshine her; and Duncan (David Catlin) is a failed businessman whose only role in life seems to be looking out for his psychotic friend Clay (Thom Cox).
And hey, they're not the only ones with issues. Everyone in this class is a high-school reunion cliche. For the most part, these cliches (the annoying couple with their cute infant, the "I haven't seen you in ten years!" girl, and Marisa Tomei's "Woah ... flashback ..." girl) are funny in themselves, but others are exploited by Grace (Lara Flynn Boyle) who seems to be out to get back at every single person at the reunion. In all honesty, Grace's confronting Todd (Jon Stewart) in a parking garage about "the child we had" right in front of his wife (Rachel Griffiths) is pretty hilarious, especially when we find out the photo of the "child" she hands him is the baby of the aforementioned annoying couple.
Granted, this movie isn't that good. If you hold "American Graffiti" up as one of the quintessential ensemble cast movies, this ranks somewhere near the average ones, such as "Empire Records" or "Can't Hardly Wait" (in fact, a great argument can be made for this being the "Can't Hardly Wait" 10-year reunion). Some of the more cringe-worthy scenes involve the main plot devices--Kevin's cynicsm and Maria's snobbishness; and watch out for Zane's singing.
So don't watch "Since You've Been Gone" expecting a deep movie. Watch it for Liev Schreiber's role as the guy who spends the whole night dancing like a moron; Jennifer Grey's attempt to get Kevin to help her painkiller addiction; Molly Ringwald's cameo as "Claire;" Grace getting back at everyone (some of those scenes actually made me laugh out loud); and David Schwimmer as Rob, the class President who is the perfect slimeball.
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