Tuesday, September 28, 2010
There are a lot of regrettable things about "3 Men and a Little Lady," the oft-overlooked sequel to "3 Men and a Baby," but I think the biggest one (besides that it takes place mostly in England) is the absence of Rebecca, Tom Selleck's high-powered girlfriend from the first film. Just as unclear on how to change a diaper as the 3 men, she refuses to babysit and resents fatherhood (divided by 3) for stripping away Tom's virility (wouldn't you?).
It was with Tom Selleck yelling "Rebecca!" in the ear of my memory that I sat on my couch watching Rebecca (real name: Margaret Colin) in "Hit and Run," a 1999 LMN throwback to the pre-cellphone era. (OK, I didn't realize it was the same actress until I looked her up on imdb, but "Hit and Run" is a dramatic movie, so allow me some extra drama.) Margaret, who is doomed to not only have a boring name but play characters with boring names as well, plays Joanna, a busy housewife who has, up until now, successfully driven her family's SVU without mowing anyone over. But one day, running errands before a party, she reaches for her cigarettes and hits a little girl who's riding her bike in the rain along the interstate. (Again, where's J. Walter Weatherman when you need him?)
Joanna jumps out of her car to see if the girl is alright, and places her backpack under her head. She races to the nearest payphone (this time, not reaching for the ciggies), calls 911, and heads back to help. But as she approaches the scene of the crime, the police and an ambulance are already there, and they shoo her and the rest of the horrified on-lookers away. Joanna, almost telling them she's the one who hit the girl, allows herself to be led on her way, and arrives home in a state of shock.
If this sounds like something that could to happen to just about anyone, regardless of their being a good person, you are not like anyone in this movie. "Someone very, very bad did this," Joanna's husband assures their child, and Joanna loses her nerve to tell her husband her awful secret.
So goes the rest of the movie, with Joanna attending a vigil, speaking up timidly at a neighborhood watch meeting, and stopping by the hospital to bring some flowers to the girl's parents. Wherever she goes, all anyone can talk about is not how glad they are that the girl is in a coma and not dead, or how irresponsible it was for her parents to let her ride alone along a busy street that doesn't have a sidewalk in the middle of a downpour, but how awful--HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY AWFUL!--someone must be to hit and run.
Though no one else suspects Joanna, who is too active in the PTA to have done something so amoral, the detective on the case (played by Keri Weaver's baby mama from ER), begins to suspect her and her size 7 shoes that left footprints at the scene. Maybe you don't have to be an unfeeling bitch to hit and run, she begins to suspect....
But when tortured Joanna finally confesses to her husband, he doesn't tell her he loves her or that he's glad she's finally unburdened herself after asking her for days what was wrong. "You're the most awful person I've ever met. I never knew how awful you truly are! Really, you should just be killed, because I'm ashamed to look at you, you awful excuse for a human being!" He says, or something like that. The victim's mother pretty much shares his sentiments, and leaves her just-awakened daughter's side to go yell at Joanna on her front lawn and not mention reimbursement for any medical costs.
You can see why Joanna has to move out and never see her children again--I mean, she hit, for godssakes, and then ran!!! Luckily, Keri Weaver's gf is there to visit her in the epilogue of the film. She not only gives us a run-down (ha!) of Joanna's lenient sentence, but also encourages her to not abandon her children. Perhaps it's because KW's gf is a hispanic cop, or perhaps it's because KW's gf is pregnant (wha?), but Joanna relents and picks up her kids at school. Though they are at first confused as to why she picked now to un-abandon them, they run up to her, while the other parents stare uncomfortably on. Maybe it is OK, Lifetime wants us to know, to still have contact with your children after you accidentally put another child in a coma and then didn't tell anybody it was you. Maybe.
Whether or not you've seen her seminal work, check out adorable Margaret Colin in this clip from the 1987 show "Attitudes," which is better than a skit on "Saturday Night Live" and appropriately enough, aired on Lifetime!