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reviewed by Vivian Rose, age 14, from US

"Stepmom" is a terrific movie, but should have been marketed a little differently. Although the previews make it out to be an outrageous comedy, which it is, "Stepmom" is also a intensely sad drama.

Julia Roberts is the stepmother, or will be, when she and her somewhat older fiance (wonderfully portrayed by Ed Harris) tie the knot. Needless to say, his kids hate her. Susan Sarandon plays their mother, who is madly jealous of Roberts. Soon, it becomes a who's-the-best-mommy war. Sarandon and Roberts both end up acting like children, and their antics are most hilarious. (My favorite scene is where Roberts helps her stepdaughter Anna get even with Anna's ex-boyfriend.)

However, we soon learn that Sarandon has cancer, and, later, that she is dying. Although still engaging in bitter arguments with her ex, she finally makes peace with him. And, as I expected would happen, peace occurs between "mom" and "stepmom" at the end.

All the actors give incredible performances , and I was thoroughly entertained, even if it was a little obvious how "Stepmom" would end. My only other gripe is there were a few too many drippy "I love you's", but I suppose that's forgivable in a tearjerker-type movie. Although at first I thought "Stepmom" definitely seemed like a chick flick, I now think I was wrong. My dad loved it, and the man sitting behind me, who knew I was a movie critic, loved it so much that he practically ordered me to give it my highest rating. His exact words were, "You have to give this movie a four!" I agreed about ninety-nine point nine percent.

Rating : PG-13 (for language and thematic elements)

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