Country Strong

by Alan Rapp on April 19, 2011

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Country Strong
  • IMDB: link

“Was [Townes Van Zandt] famous?”
“In some circles. But not as famous as Carrie Underwood.”

Coming out of rehab (again) country music star Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow) hits the road with her manager and husband (Tim McGraw), and two young aspiring stars (Garrett Hedlund, Leighton Meester) on a comeback tour.

The film’s running time is under two hours but it feels much longer as the characters and plot struggle to make their way to the story’s climactic performance in Dallas.

The performances are solid, but nothing special. The music is more country pop than country, and both Paltrow and Meester are adequate at performing them. However, neither the songs nor the performances will make you buy the soundtrack. And the story itself, aside from the ending (which serves up a very questionable message), is all to predictable.

Although the version I viewed contained no extras (not even the trailer was included), some version do include deleted scenes, the film’s original ending, an extended musical performance, and cast and crew featurettes.

Is it worth a quick rent? Only if you’re a huge fan of one or more of these stars and simply have nothing better to do for a couple of hours. Country Strong is a trainwreck that wants to be a great drama about the struggles of alcohol and drugs, the price of fame, life on tour, and the world of country music. It’s too bad it comes up short in almost every department.

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