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Picks and Pans Main: Movies

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Country Strong

Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw | PG-13 | R |


We’ve seen this movie before, but that’s not to say that we shouldn’t see it again. Country Strong rehashes the troubled-singer plot with Paltrow as Kelly Canter, an alcoholic crooner caught between her manager-husband (McGraw), her rehab lover (Garrett Hedlund) and a “country Barbie” (Leighton Meester) dying to take her place. It’s Walk the Line with a love rectangle, a twangy All ’bout Eve. But as familiar as the movie feels, the point is that it feels quite deeply. Writer-director Shana Feste finely calibrates the tension between her foursome, making Kelly’s boozy tour less a star vehicle for Paltrow (who’s never fully in control of her out-of-control character) than a fine ensemble piece. That’s great for the rest of the cast, especially McGraw, who nicely settles into the husband’s menace (or is that regret?). It’s even good for Paltrow, who proves she can blend beautifully into a chorus.