An afternoon special for edge-averse desperate housewives or just a meandering sitcom that muffs the "com" HBO alumnus Mike Binder's The Upside of Anger strands yet another terrific Joan Allen performance in thematically self-contradicting twaddle. Allen plays Terry, a heavy-drinking, upper-middle-class wreck with four daughters who's made more distraught when her husband blows town. Terry falls for a slothfully charming, alcoholic talk show host (Kevin Costner, reminding us why we once found him nearly tolerable), makes a drunken fool of herself at a wedding, etc., until she eventually learns a psychologically dishonest answer to the title's implied question via a plot twist, telegraphed from the first shot, that we've been praying wouldn't actually happen. Still, Upside does finally offer a believable reason for the invasion of Iraq: It's something colorful for the movie's upscale characters to get bored watching on TV in frequent, utterly irrelevant in-film broadcasts.
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