Wednesday, August 3, 2011
B.S.A: Mary Steenburgen in Melvin And Howard
Mary Steenburgen received her first Oscar nomination and won for playing Lynda Dummar, the crazy wife of Melvin Dummar, a loser who one night picks up and befriends a man who claims to be Howard Hughes, and sometime into the film, we discover that it really was him, and that he left him quite a bit of money in his will.
Melvin And Howard is a crazy, entertaining film that is a bit of an awkward mess. Right after Hughes disappears from the movie, we are simply rushed into the situation of wife leaving, then his daughter leaving, then getting married to her again. Huh? There needs to be more explanation here, and it just doesn't click. I suppose this is the point of the movie though, and although she's hampered by the flaws in the story Mary Steenburgen does succeed with her part.
Lynda is an eccentric, rather stupid, but in a good way, and Steenburgen has fun with the part, doing everything that she should do. The part fits her like a glove, no one else could play the part as well as she could. Steenburgen aslso brings radiance and love-ability to Lynda, we like her despite her stupid decisions and the scripts poor handling of her.
Still, the scripts bad handling of the part is too damaging for me to love her performance or call her one of the best winners in this category, but like the film itelf, we can't help finding it enduring and wonderful at the end.