Like any good parent, Weiner tries to be fair to her creations, but her sympathies finally rest more with her truer underdog, Rose. Diaz's likability and star presence might have tipped the scales in Maggie's favor if Rose were played by a less accomplished actress. But Collette is so very good and goes so very deep inside her character -- bringing us right alongside her -- that she becomes the de facto center of the film as well as the bene-ficiary of our greatest emotional investment. You want Rose to lay down that ice cream container and poor-pitiful-me expression, to shuck her social conditioning and family dysfunction so she too can sashay in dangerous heels and kiss the boy (or two) in her life as a woman, not a contrivance.
Hanson gives Collette the space to do just that. The two sisters come out swinging, and it doesn't take long for Maggie to commit a transgression vile enough to send her packing to Florida. After Rose licks her wounds she begins to stake a claim on life, first by taking a leave of absence from work, then by saying yes to a lawyer, Simon (Feuerstein), to whom she always said no.
Hanson knows how to steam up a situation, and he directs a wonderful courtship scene between the two that begins with Simon reading aloud to Rose -- from one of those fat romance novels in which women wear bodices specifically designed to be torn from their invariably quivering bosoms -- and ends with the two in raptures.
The joy of this unassuming, generous film is that it never sells out its characters' desires or ours. Fat or thin, happy or sad, blond or brunet, we all want a happy ending, even if we don't necessarily want a boy or a pair of throw-me-down-and-ravage-me shoes. Well, maybe we all want the shoes.