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Film / 28 Days

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"Yeah, I know I drink a lot, I know I do because I'm a writer and that's what I do, I drink. I'm not like those people out there, I can control myself! I can, if - that - if I wanted to, I could, if I wanted. I can! I can!"
Gwen Cummings

28 Days is a 2000 Dramedy film directed by Betty Thomas and starring Sandra Bullock.

Gwen Cummings (Bullock) is a newspaper columnist who drinks. A lot. But she doesn't have a problem. She and her boyfriend Jasper (Dominic West) just like to have a good time. One Saturday morning after a heavy night of drinking, Gwen and Jasper arrive 45 minutes late for Gwen's sister's wedding. Completely drunk and high, Gwen and Jasper dance a little too roughly, knocking over the wedding cake. Gwen insists she will fix it, sheds her icing-covered bridesmaid's dress, and hijacks the limousine in a search to replace the missing cake, only to wind up driving into a house.

Gwen is sentenced to 28 days of hard rehab. Thus our story begins.

Definitely not to be confused with 28 Days Later.

Tropes in this film.

  • Actually, I Am Him: Gwen initially thinks her counselor is another patient.
    Cornell: You know, if your counselor catches you using you could get in big trouble.
    Gwen: I don't plan on discussing it with him.
    Cornell: Too late.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • In fact the entire film mainly is about this trope. Gwen drinks so much that it is ruining her life; it damages her relationship with her sister, not to mention that it gets her arrested and sent to rehab, kicking off the plot.
    • Gwen and Lily's mother also was an alcoholic, to the point that she died from it.
  • All for Nothing: Andrea is set to go home. She's finished her rehab. Gwen and her friends put on a play and give her some kind words. Andrea dies of an overdose before even leaving the clinic.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Gwen and Lily's father left them when they were young. their mother was a raging alcoholic and probably died because of it. Gwen and Lily were raised by their Aunt. Lily managed to avoid the chemical dependency, but Gwen didn't.
  • Binge Montage: During the opening credits.
  • Car Meets House: Gwen did a lot of crazy things that day, this was just the last on the list.
  • Chekhov's Gag: When Daniel leaves, Oliver idly mentions there's a 3 in 10 chance they'll see him again. Daniel is back before Gwen's 28 days are up.
    • Also Andrea mentioning off-handedly that Falcon really is leaving Santa Cruz sets up The Stinger (see below)
  • Crowd Song: They sing to people when they leave.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Evidently no one was hurt when Gwen crashed into the house, or we would have heard about it. Lampshaded when Cornell tells Gwen that the lawn jockey she ran over could have been a four-year-old.
  • Covered in Gunge: Gwen is covered in icing after the cake incident.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When young Gwen is told that her alcoholic mother has died.
    Aunt Helen: You mother has passed on.
    Young Gwen: That's okay. Just slap her real hard, and she'll wake up.
  • Drunken Montage: Opening credits again.
  • Drunken Song: Played with. As the rehab group comes home from their trust course, they sing a drinking song on the bus.
  • Fanservice Extra: The first girl Oliver is seen with in an elevator isn't wearing pants. Or underwear.
  • Flashback: To the wedding and to childhood
  • Funny Foreigner: Alan Tudyk as Gerhardt is played as essentially nothing but comic relief throughout the film... right up until he breaks your heart in the final scene.
  • Nailed to the Wagon: Its sort of the whole point of a rehab clinic.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Gwen deals with this the first few days.
  • No More for Me: Gwen arrives at this at the bar with Jasper
  • Off the Wagon: Daniel and Andrea
  • Older Than They Look: Gwen asks if Andrea is 12. She says she's 17.
  • Precision F-Strike: The writers had to deliberate over the best place for Sandra Bullock to use the F word, it being a PG-13 movie. In the end, they dropped "Fuck Mr. Rogers" and went with the more perfunctory scene in which Bullock's character defends herself in a group circle. "Would you please just BACK THE FUCK OFF?!"
  • Prison Rape: Jasper reassures Gwen that rehab is a preferable alternative to prison.
    Jasper: You never hear about anyone getting raped by a plunger in rehab.
    Gwen: Well, no, you don't hear about it because they cover it up.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Daniel, the doctor.
  • Show Within a Show: Santa Cruz, and their play, Santa Booze
  • Shown Their Work: A great deal of effort went into making sure the therapy was right.
  • Soap Opera: In universe, Santa Cruz an Expy of Santa Barbara
  • The Stinger: The actor who plays Falcon on the Soap Opera Show Within a Show Santa Cruz has arrived at the center for Rehab.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The film isn't shy on how hard the rehab is and how many people lapse back to their addictions
    • Andrea is a heroin addict and despite getting out of the rehab clinic she goes back to using and overdoses, as many heroin addicts do
    • Daniel happily leaves rehab, committed to being sober. . . and is back within days, having relapsed.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Pointed out by Cornell:
    "Hey, listen. This isn't the last lousy day you're going to have here."
  • Take Our Word for It: The back of the DVD case and blurbs say that Gwen is "a successful N.Y. Journalist", but we never see any proof of that, and it doesn't really come up.
  • Time Title: The length of the rehabilitation program the main character goes to.
  • Title Confusion: This movie, called 28 Days came out in 2000. The zombie film 28 Days Later came out in 2002. Two years is within a tight, but still reasonable time frame to produce a sequel, so some people did wonder if 28 Days Later was a sequel - until the trailers came out. 28 Days Later went on to become a big hit, spawning its own also-similarly-named sequel 28 Weeks Later. 28 Days, however, is less well-known.
  • Title Drop: When it's mentioned how long Gwen's court-ordered treatment must last.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Gwen's first night in rehab.
  • Wacky Cravings: Gum, ginger snaps, chocolate, cigarettes - anything to ease the withdrawal.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Gwen doesn't remember how her bra ended up charred the night before the wedding. (We, as the audience, do.)
  • What Have I Become?: Gwen begins to realize this after her fall, when she tries to climb down to get the pills she threw out the window.
  • Worst Wedding Ever: A particularly infamous one. The event that prompted Gwen to go to rehab all began as her being a one-woman wrecking crew at Lily's wedding. She showed up late to stand in as a bridesmaid, brought her fellow alcoholic boyfriend with her, gave a drunken speech that made it seem like her sister only married her newlywed husband for his money, fell onto the wedding cake while dancing with said boyfriend, ruining it, and after undressing from her gown and stealing the limo in order to buy a new cake, she crashes the car into a nearby house. Fortunately, Lily and her husband are still Happily Married in spite of their terrible day and she was eventually able to deliver a well-deserved "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Gwen in rehab.