Cinema: Three Women and a Dad

An Ephron Sisters' Film Is More Sad Than Madcap

Hanging Up has the perky pace and the arch attitudes of a comedy. Everyone looks as if he or she is about to deliver a funny line. It's only after 20 expectant minutes or so that you realize you haven't laughed yet. And that the hope for humor--as opposed to frazzle, which soon gives way to frenzy--is growing dimmer.

Adapted by Delia and Nora Ephron from the former's novel, which drew from their lives, the film is scarcely a tragedy. But it is a meditation on the inconvenience of mortality, about the way a parent's final illness can intrude on his...

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