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A Prairie Home Companion

Released: 2006

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 1 hr 45 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Robert Altman

Starring: Marylouise Burke, Woody Harrelson, L.Q. Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Garrison Keillor, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Tim Russell, Meryl Streep

A film is a fictional representation of behind-the-scenes activities on a long-running radio show of the same name.

If I had caught this movie on television, I would have switched channels.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

For me, director Robert Altman's work generally falls into one of two categories -- it's great (GOSFORD PARK) or who cares (KANSAS CITY). There are, of course, exceptions, like his last film (THE COMPANY), which was good but not great.

His latest production, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, written by and based on Garrison Keillor's popular radio program, is firmly in the "who cares" category. As a cast of thousands makes small talk backstage and onstage, I never learned enough about any of the characters or their snippets of stories to care about anything they said or did. There were some funny lines and a few cute "bad jokes," so they had me giggling every now and then, but that was about it.

The story concerns the last radio broadcast of a show that has been on "since Jesus was in the third grade." Typical of the humor is one of the jokes told by Lefty (Woody Harrelson) and Dusty (John C. Reilly), a pair of singing cowboys. They tell us what happens when you mix holy water and castor oil. You get a "religious movement." The show features a lot of country and western and other singing with Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin, as the Johnson sisters, singing the most of all. None of the performances are memorable, although no one does a bad job. In a small role playing the daughter of Streep's character, Lindsay Lohan plays one of the few serious parts in the movie, and she does a fine job, something that can't be said of her recent work in JUST MY LUCK.

I've never heard the radio program before, and, based on this film about it, I won't be trying to find it in the future. On the other hand, if you really like the program, you'll probably be putting this film in Altman's great category. If I had caught this movie on television, I would have switched channels.

A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION runs 1:45. It is rated PG-13 for "risqué humor" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.