Lily Tomlin plays one of those goofy, out there, wild and crazy elderly woman I’m supposed to find delightfully funny, and quite often don’t. She does outrageous stuff, and what often pisses me off about characters like this is that, if she were a man, much of her antics would earn her a poke in the eye. But women get a pass, don’t they? She is a feminist, and would be outraged if I suggested to her that she is using her gender, and her age as well, to get away with unacceptable behavior. I don’t find that funny at all. Sorry, I just don’t. When, later in the film, she gets in the face of a little girl protesting with her mother outside an abortion clinic and the little girl clocks her a good one in the kisser, I thought it was long overdue.
Which is not to say the movie doesn’t have its attractions. Lily is a lesbian who raised a daughter (Marcia Gay Harden) with her partner, who has been dead for a year and half. The daughter is a high-powered lawyer, and her daughter, Julia Garner, is pregnant, afraid to tell her mother, so she goes to Grandma for the $630 she needs. Lily doesn’t have it, so they set out to get it from her friends, alienating most of them along the way. I like it that she goes through with the abortion, and it’s not the end of the world. Did you ever notice that girls in movies almost always elect to keep the baby? Even if it will ruin your sixteen-year-old life? Here, it’s over and done with in twenty minutes. The three reconcile, after a fashion. It’s well-written and well-acted—I particularly liked young Ms. Garner … but not really my kind of film.