Every night, Georgia Bird (Queen Latifah) cooks a spectacular meal, arranges everything perfectly, takes a picture of it for her “possibilities” scrapbook and then feeds it to the boy who lives next door while she microwaves a frozen diet dinner for herself. She works at a store where she meekly goes along with whatever her nasty boss tells her and she can barely speak when dreamboat Sean (LL Cool J) walks by.
Then she finds out that she has a serious condition and only three weeks to live. So she takes all of her money out of the bank and decides to blow it all on a trip to a fabulous resort. The woman who has been so careful for so long has no reason to be careful anymore. The woman who has been saving everything for someday decides that the time has come to spend.
Queen Latifah has a warm and lovely screen presence and it is a pleasure to see her light up as Georgia comes alive. We are immediately on her side as the caterpillar and we can’t help thrilling as she begins to kick up her heels and spread her wings as a butterfly. Yes, there will be a trying-on-fancy-clothes-montage when Georgia decides to replace her drab wardrobe. Yes, Georgia will run into her hero, the resort’s French chef (Gerard Depardieu) and the mega-millionaire who owns the store she works in, visiting the resort to hobnob with bigwigs. And yes, everyone will assume she’s a bigwig, too (why else would she be throwing so much money around) and yes, everyone will be charmed by her freshness and honesty. And yes, Georgia will wonder why it took dying to teach her how to live.
And yes, we enjoy seeing it all unfold. The script is pure formula, but Queen Latifah is having such a ball that we are happy to be invited along. At times it feels like an extended trailer for itself with silly set-pieces (Georgia base-jumps! Georgia cooks with the chef!), but we are on her side all the way and when the happily-ever-ending arrives, we’re as happy as she is.
Parents should know that the movie has an extremely crude joke about oral sex for a PG-13 movie. There is some comic peril, some strong language, and some social drinking. The theme of a fatal disease may be disturbing to some audience members.
Families who see this movie should talk about what they might put in their own “possiblities” books — and what they can do to make those possibilities into realities. Why did it take a diagnosis of a serious disease to make Georgia brave enough to try out her dreams?
Families who appreciate this movie will also appreciate Queen Latifah’s fine performances in Chicago and Living out Loud (both with mature material). They might enjoy the original version of this movie, starring Alec Guiness (the original Obi-wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.