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The Weekend

A quiet weekend at the lake turns into a dreary drama fest as friends and family deal with memories of a dead loved one.


In this adaptation of Peter Cameron's novel, art critic Lyle (David Conrad) brings his new lover (James Duval) to visit married friends Marian and John (Deborah Kara Unger, Jared Harris) at their idyllic upstate New York spread. Before you can say, "Rich people have problems, too," everybody's remembering John's charismatic half-brother (D.B. Sweeney), the love of both Lyle and Marian's lives before he died of AIDS. Meanwhile, a high-living widow (Gena Rowlands) contends with the unexpected visit of her estranged daughter (Brooke Shields).


The high-powered ensemble does what it can to generate some heat from the script's stock situations and on-the-nose dialogue. Canada's Unger ("The Hurricane") has never looked more radiantly beautiful, but her convincing work is largely wasted on the bland Marian. Harris ("Happiness") has more luck as her likably flawed husband, who is sorely tempted by a potential fling. The legendary Rowlands ("Gloria") and Shields (TV's "Suddenly Susan") are a credible mother-and-daughter team, but their section of the story is too predictable to build up much steam.


Screenwriter-director Brian Skeet ("The Misadventures of Margaret") throws some good actors at the Chekovian dramatic setup, but fails to draw much that's emotionally engaging out of it. The characters have a way of nicely articulating whatever sensitive thoughts happen to be on their minds, resulting in little buildup of mystery or suspense. The script consists of earnest confrontations with occasional bits of fortune cookie wisdom thrown in ("There's no future in holding onto the past."). A technique of fading in flashbacks with a bluish tint works well, whereas the rapid jerking between long and medium shots in a couple of scenes is merely irritating.

Bottom line

Moviegoers should be able to find better ways to spend their weekend.