So-so responses may be looming for Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion…if Peter Brunette‘s Screen Daily review out of the Berlin Film Festival is anything to go by. He calls it “a reasonably entertaining film [that] nevertheless falls quite short of the achievement of such Altman ensemble masterpieces as Nashville, M*A*S*H and Short Cuts.” And yet he calls Altman’s homage to America’s favorite radio show “a largely spirited affair, despite a few sagging moments. Paradoxically, it may play better in Europe and other territories than in North America, where its central plot of a soulless corporation overtaking a beloved, if superannuated, cultural institution may be seen as a bit shopworn.” The best parts involve the perform- ances, or mroe particularly Altman’s seamlessly blending of real variety acts with cornball fictional ones such as The Johnson Girls (Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin) and the singing cowboys Dusty and Lefty (Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly ) and when the singing gets a-goin’, the Fitzgerald theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the show is broadcast live, starts jumping.” The other cast members are Keillor himself, Lindsey Lohan,
Kevin Kline
and Virginia Madsen.