Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Sharon Stone, Tony Goldwyn, Ellen Burstyn, Liza Lapira, Jason Gibson, Caitlin FitzGerald, Gilles Marini, Famke Janssen, Erica Ash, Harry Zinn, Leonor Varela, Yvonne Jung
Written by: Susan Walter
Directed by: Susan Walter
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content and partial nudity
Running Time: 94
Date: 03/30/2018
IMDB

All I Wish (2018)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Birthday Shards

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The one-day-per-year gimmick in this flat, vague romance doesn't really illuminate anything in the story, possibly because the unappealing main character is largely shallow and unchanging throughout.

In All I Wish, Senna Berges (Sharon Stone) hopes to be a fashion designer and hopes for a boyfriend, but can't seem to manage either one. The story visits her on a single day, her birthday, each year. She buys fashion items for Vanessa (Famke Janssen), but gets fired over the poor choice of some orange boots.

Meanwhile, she picks up random men while never connecting with any of them. Her best friend Darla (Liza Lapira) tries to set her up with Adam (Tony Goldwyn), and it goes badly, but they still make a tentative connection. Over the years, Senna watches as birthday brunches with her mother (Ellen Burstyn) turn into hospital visits, and as Darla gets married and becomes pregnant. One year however, a fateful encounter with Adam changes the course of Senna's life.

Stone can be a potent actress but she chose poorly with Senna Berges in All I Wish (an ill-conceived replacement title for the former A Little Something for Your Birthday). She's a mature woman who improbably behaves like a college-age girl, flighty and rudderless. It's difficult to believe she would have made it this far in life, let alone manage to keep any friends.

The writing and directing by Susan Walter — her debut — has a nervous, twitchy quality, and though it's billed as a romantic comedy, it's not very funny. Like the Adam character, who is forced to sing a karaoke song in one scene, it's tone-deaf. It includes "interviews" with some of the characters between years; weirdly, these contain some of the best, most soulful bits of writing, even if there is no reason for them to exist.

The movie also thoughtlessly tacks on a subplot about cancer, presumably to add tears to the laughter; it, too, fails. When the happy ending comes, it feels completely unearned, and the movie itself feels artificial and tired.

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