A rriving on the heels of the "year of the documentary" and the Queer Eye-inspired valence of "the makeover" as gateway to self-actualization, Tony Shalhoub's directorial debut, Made-Up, would seem to be perfectly timed. Recently divorced former actress Elizabeth (Brooke Adams) agrees to "star" in her sister Kate's documentary, featuring Elizabeth's makeover at the hands of her teenage daughter, Sara (Eva Amurri), an aspiring cosmetologist. This promising setup quickly degenerates into a series of clichés against a backdrop of boom mics, lenses, and fictional filmmakers walking in and out of the frame. Kate soon finds reality too dull and begins to manipulate eventsimagine that!A ham-fisted satire on the American obsession with appearance, Made-Up is ultimately self-defeating and even offensive, as when Sara "empowers" homeless women by making them over for an art project (Shalhoub has the decency not to show this on-screen). Adams and Amurri come through with dignity largely intact, but the most sympathetic performer here is Gary Sinise, who, as Elizabeth's ex-husband, spends one scene repeatedly positioning a newspaper to hide his face from the camera, evidently not wishing to be recognized in this mess.
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