The Next Best Thing | Chicago Reader

The Next Best Thing

A straight yoga instructor (Madonna) and a gay gardener (Rupert Everett) who are best friends get it on one drunken night and she becomes pregnant; she decides to have the kid, and they live together as parents—until she meets and falls in love with an east-coast investment banker. The first part of this opulent soap opera is well-intentioned and reasonably entertaining (if simplistic) propaganda about alternative lifestyles; then the whole thing becomes a very rickety and contrived tearjerker, with Everett playing the Joan Crawford part. The swank surroundings wind up signifying about as much as the characters, mainly because neither Thomas Ropelewski's script nor John Schlesinger's direction can establish a comfortable through line in terms of either style or content. With Michael Vartan, Josef Sommer, and Lynn Redgrave.

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