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Cherish

Cherish is quirky, occasionally bizarre, often endearing, and — despite its faults and uneven nature — a true original. But what else would you expect from a film about a naïve wannabe who suddenly finds herself under house arrest for a murder she didn't commit, coming to terms with her own personality while simultaneously trying to track down the real perpetrator? Robin Tunney plays Zoe Adler, a babble-prone, frizzy-haired San Francisco computer animator who's so afraid of being alone that even when she's by herself, she always has the radio on. She parties every night and tries reaching out to her snobby co-workers (embodied perfectly by Liz Phair and Jason Priestly), only to be ignored and rebuffed. Then, one night, an under-the-influence Zoe ends up charged with the death of a bicycle cop after her car runs him down; no one — not even her coolly efficient lawyer (Nora Dunn) — believes her when she swears a mysterious stalker/carjacker (Brad Hunt) was responsible. Deemed too delicate for prison, Zoe awaits her trial in a cavernous loft, bound to her new home by an electronic ankle bracelet. She's suddenly forced into solitude — aside from periodic visits from wistful bracelet technician Daly (a superbly subdued Tim Blake Nelson) and her windowsill-framed interactions with the people who pass by on the street, she's almost completely alone. Turns out it suits her. Left to her own devices, Zoe quickly becomes calmer, more resourceful, and much more capable, which comes in handy when she unexpectedly gets a chance to hunt down the stalker. The shift from "quirky indie comedy" to "woman in jeopardy thriller" is a little jarring, but it does give Cherish's third act a nice jolt of energy. Because despite Tunney's impressive acting ability (which, go figure, she didn't really have a chance to show off in Vertical Limit or The Craft), there's something missing in Zoe's journey — her transformation from weakness to competence goes too smoothly. Like the film itself, Zoe is appealing, but she's almost too different, too quirky to be quite believable. New Line's Cherish DVD includes both anamorphic (1.85) and full-frame transfers of the film, which are lovely and richly colorful. The Dolby 2.0 Surround audio does the '80s pop soundtrack proud (closed-captioning is also available). Tunney is joined by writer/director Finn Taylor and cinematographer Barry Stone for a reminisce-heavy commentary that also touches on many of the technical filming details real movie geeks always appreciate. Other extras include the trailer, a brief deleted scene, an alternate ending, and an 18-minute "making-of" featurette. Snap-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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