ⓘ The Next Best Thing

The Next Best Thing

ⓘ The Next Best Thing

The Next Best Thing is a 2000 American comedy-drama film about two best friends that have a child together and a custody battle years after, and was the final film directed by John Schlesinger. Starring Madonna, Rupert Everett, and Benjamin Bratt, it opened to the #2 position in the North American box office despite its poor reviews.


1. Premise

Two best friends – one a straight woman, Abbie, the other a gay man, Robert – decide to have a child together. Five years later, Abbie falls in love with a heterosexual man and wants to move away with him and Roberts little boy, Sam, and a nasty custody battle ensues.


2. Cast

  • Lynn Redgrave as Helen Whittaker
  • Stacy Edwards as Finn
  • Suzanne Krull as Annabel
  • Illeana Douglas as Elizabeth Ryder
  • Benjamin Bratt as Ben Cooper
  • Linda Larkin as Kelly
  • Madonna as Abbie Reynolds
  • Josef Sommer as Richard Whittaker
  • William Mesnik as Ashley
  • Michael Vartan as Kevin Lasater
  • Mark Valley as Cardiologist
  • Neil Patrick Harris as David
  • Malcolm Stumpf as Sam
  • Rupert Everett as Robert Whittaker

3. Production

The film began as an original screenplay, The Red Curtain, by Tom Ropelewski, which he intended to direct, with his wife Leslie Dixon to produce. It was announced to be made in 1995 with Richard Dreyfuss attached to star as Robert; he dropped out then Helen Hunt was named as female lead to play Abbie. She was eventually replaced by Madonna and then Rupert Everett signed on as star. Filming took place between 23 April and 30 June 1999. It was later claimed the script was extensively rewritten by Ryan Murphy and Rupert Everett.


4. Reception

Roger Ebert gave the film one star, stating: The Next Best Thing is a garage sale of gay issues, harnessed to a plot as exhausted as a junkmans horse."

The film received a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 93 reviews, with an average rating of 3.7/10. The websites critical consensus states: "Story elements clash and acting falls short." On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average of critics reviews, the film has rating of 25/100 based on 31 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".


4.1. Reception Box office

The film opened at #2 at the North American box office making USD$5.870.387, behind The Whole Nine Yards. The film grossed $14.990.582 domestically and $24.362.772 worldwide on a $25 million budget.


4.2. Reception Accolades

The film was nominated as Outstanding Film at the 2001 GLAAD Media Awards, but lost to Billy Elliot.

Madonna won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress, and the film was nominated for other Razzies including:

  • Worst Picture lost to Battlefield Earth
  • Worst Director - John Schlesinger lost to Roger Christian for Battlefield Earth
  • Worst Screen Couple - Madonna and either Rupert Everett or Benjamin Bratt lost to John Travolta and "anyone sharing the screen with him" in Battlefield Earth
  • Worst Screenplay - Thomas Ropelewski lost to Corey Mandell and J.D. Shapiro for Battlefield Earth

5. Soundtrack

The soundtrack album was released by Maverick Records on February 21, 2000. It reached number 34 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart. Madonna was executive producer on the soundtrack and hand-picked all the tracks that appeared. The album boasted two new songs from Madonna, "Time Stood Still" an original track written and produced with William Orbit and a cover of Don McLeans "American Pie". The latter track was a #1 around the world, climbing to the top of the charts in the UK, Italy, Australia, Germany, and Japan. The album also included tracks by Moby, Beth Orton, Christina Aguilera, and Groove Armada.

  • "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" - Moby
  • "Swayambhu" - Solar Twins
  • "If Everybody Looked the Same" - Groove Armada
  • "Dont Make Me Love You Til Im Ready" - Christina Aguilera
  • "Time Stood Still" - Madonna
  • "Bongo Bong" - Manu Chao
  • "American Pie" - Madonna
  • "Im Not in Love" - Olive
  • "This Life" - Mandalay
  • "Forever and Always" - Gabriel Yared
  • "Stars All Seem to Weep" - Beth Orton
  • "Boom Ba" - Metisse

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