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Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Megan Mullally, Mary Kay Place, Bree Turner, Richmond Arquette, Natalie Dreyfuss

Director: James Ponsoldt

There haven't been too many movies centred on alcoholism: The Lost Weekend, Days of Wine and Roses and Clean and Sober spring to mind, but not many more. One thing's for sure: they were all more entertaining than this one.

It's too much on one note, little of the dialogue rings true - some is way off beam - and few of its characters are charismatic or interesting.

Kate (tall Winstead) and her husband (small Paul) are riotously drunk most of the time, and never completely sober. Unlike some alcoholics, they make no attemnpt to hide it.

When nursery school teacher Kate is sick in her classroom after her morning hip-flask full of whisky, the children ask if she's pregnant; seeing a way out, Kate says she is.

But it's only after waking up a) on waste ground and b) by a river after benders that she decides to something about it.

Though it's perhaps deliberate, the film hits problems when its AA denizens prove even more creepy than the drunks.

Naturally, Kate's hubby is no help, any more than her harridan mother (Place), who refers to her daughter's new mentors as 'assholes anonymous'. And, as the film continues on its jagged way, there's the inevitable falling off the wagon.

Winstead is loud and impassioned, but never sympathetic, although it's her film and for what it's worth she's easily the best thing in it. At least it's very short, though it hardly seems so.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Sony (Sony Pictures Classics). Colour by Colormovie.
78 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 09 Dec 2012