Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock) is a successful New York writer living life in the fast lane, and is everyone’s favorite party girl. She shares this roller-coaster lifestyle of hopping from dance club to hangover with boyfriend Jasper (Dominic West). Life is just an exercise in debauchery – until Gwen’s ungraceful display at her sister Lily’s (Elizabeth Perkins) wedding, when she gets drunk, commandeers the limo and earns herself a DUI and 28 days in court-ordered rehab.
A jaded city girl, Gwen is determined not to conform to the rules. Then she meets Counselor Cornell (Steve Buscemi), who begins to break through her carefully constructed defenses and forces her to take a closer look at who she really is. Gwen gradually loses her cynicism and begins the long struggle to take back her life.
“28 Days” doesn’t contain the dramatic impact that, say, “Days of Wine and Roses” did nearly 40 years ago. It is more rehab-lite. Although Ms. Bullock is one of my favorites because she has a vulnerability that even transcends her outward beauty, she lacks the depth to make this character poignant. Her withdrawal consists of one night in the bathroom vomiting and laying her head on the floor. You never feel the struggle that someone who begins her day with a beer and then is suddenly deprived of addictive substances goes through.
Her surrounding characters are so clichéd: there’s the tough head nurse, the week-kneed and limp-wristed guy, the grumpy guy, the handsome guy, the motherly type, and the withdrawn roommate who covers her pain by holding stuffed animals and watching soap operas.
It doesn’t pack a wallop, which is necessary to send an effective message that alcohol and drugs can be very destructive. The sprinkling of occasional profane and obscene language is used to attempt a hard-edge feel, but the film lacks any real emotional kick. The language and occasional sexual activity make it impossible for us at Dove to award our seal to this movie.