My Sister's Keeper's emancipation proclamation falls flat

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8697/1245822202-ending_for_my_sisters_keeper_film_veers_from_picoults_book.jpg After six feature films in 13 years, it's safe to assume writer-director Nick Cassavetes will never be confused with his late father, indie pioneer/auteur John Cassavetes. If Cassavetes Senior's films were (deliberately) rough around the edges and seemingly improvised (even when they weren't), Cassavetes Junior occasionally errs on the side of slickness. Exxon Valdez oil spill slickness. Take My Sister's Keeper, Cassavetes' alternately moving and insidious adaptation of Jodi Picoult's bestselling novel. Cassavetes displayed his tearjerker chops with 2004's The Notebook, and Keeper proves that he hasn't lost his touch at wringing emotions. But while Notebook worked because the lead performances by star-crossed lovers Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were so classy you could (almost) forgive the crass manipulations of its icky Nicholas Sparks source material, Cassavetes' latest borders on Hallmark porn ("Let's all feel good about feeling bad"). Or maybe it's just because the directorial hand is so heavy-handed this time (nearly as ponderous as in Cassavetes' muddled 2002 medical melodrama John Q, his worst film to date.

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