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Running Time:
1 hour, 45 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for risque humor.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Charming, funny and endearing, just like the radio show.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Additional Scenes; Behind-the-scenes documentary; Commentary with famed director Robert Altman and Kevin Kline

A Prarie Home Companion
Director Robert Altman and writer Garrison Keillor have joined forces with an all-star cast to create a comic backstage fable about a fictitious radio variety show that is in reality just a film version of NPR's long running "A Prarie Home Companion." Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin are outstanding as the Johnson Sisters, Yolanda and Rhonda, a country duo that has been singing together for years on the county-fair circuit. They are both marvelous as they talk simultaneously and delightfully sing "Goodbye to My Mama." Their hilarious portrayal of the two sisters who are constantly pattering is something wonderful to behold. Lindsey Lohan, looking adorable, plays Meryl's daughter, Lola, who finally gets her big chance to sing on the show and then has to make up additional lyrics to "Frankie and Johnny" to pad out the program. Kevin Kline plays the infamous Guy Noir, a down on his luck private detective, who also happens to work backstage as the doorman at the theater where the show is broadcast. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly are hilariously authentic as Dusty and Lefty "The Old Trailhands," a singing cowboy act whose comedy lyrics you won't want to miss. Virginia Madsen is serenely beautiful in a white trenchcoat as a prowling angel of death. Maya Rudolph (SNL) delightfully underplays the harried, pregnant stage manager and Keillor appears in his usual amiable radio role as the singing host of the program.

The slight but charming story takes place on a rainy Saturday night in St. Paul, Minnesota. The audience files into the Fitzgerald Theater to see the public radio program "A Prairie Home Companion," which is being broadcast by radio station WLT. What hardly anyone knows is that the station and the theater have been sold and that tonight's show will be the final one. Tommy Lee Jones plays the Axeman, sent by the Texas Christian conglomerate who has purchased the station and the theater to make sure they all leave quietly. Robert Altman ("Nashville") shot the entire film in St Paul's Fitzgerald Theatre, except for the opening and closing scenes which take place in a nearby diner. The film combines Altman's cinematic style and intelligence with the charm of Garrison Keillor and his weekly show and together they have created a fictional approximation of the real thing. The musicians, staff and stage crew of the actual program are all there, and after seeing this enjoyable film, you and thousands of others will probably be joining the radio show's fans in taking a listen to the program as it continues to be broadcast every Saturday evening on public radio stations.

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