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<I>Water for Elephants</I>: Alcohol Recommended for Everyone Else

The new movie starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon is a romantic circus epic, three words I don't often like to say together. Like Titanic under the big top, or Larger Than Life during the Great Depression, the movie manages to combine star-crossed lovers and economic disparity with comedically unruly animals, and the end result is a sappy, clichéd, albeit very pretty, film. And since it takes place during Prohibition, everyone in the movie drinks, be it whiskey, cheap moonshine or champagne, and by the end of the movie, I was kind of jealous. Why should they get to drift through two hours of melodrama in a foggy haze while I have to sit there soberly and see every twist and turn coming a mile away? (And I hadn't even read the book.) If you want to be constantly surprised by this movie, I recommend making a drinking game out of it. Here are the players, and the rules.

Robert Pattinson is Jacob, a veterinarian student who loses his only family right before his final exam and immediately skips town, jumps a train and joins the circus, because that's what they did back then. "Hobo" was a legitimate career choice. Drink whenever he:
- gets fondled by a stripper.
- laughs like a goon.
- sulks over his crush and her husband's PDAs.
- is almost thrown off of a train.

Reese Witherspoon plays Marlena, the star performer of the Benzini Bros. Circus, a horse whisperer who loves animals and is married to the older ringmaster. Drink every time she:
- talks about how she was nothing before she joined the circus.
- talks about how she'll be nothing if she leaves the circus.
- wears a backless outfit.
- holds her arms in the air triumphantly.

Christoph Waltz plays the money-minded ringmaster August, who prefers the finer things but will throw his employees off the train if he can't pay them. He's somewhere between Hans Landa and Benjamin Chudnofsky in his villainy, and he hates the Ringling Bros. with a passion -- hey, join the club. Drink whenever he:
- talks about how tight money is.
- pops a bottle of champagne.
- has a wild mood swing.
- savagely beats an animal.

Rosie is an elderly elephant who seems to be untrainable at first, by either the friendly Jacob and the savage August, until she is revealed to be highly intelligent and extremely talented, as well as a bit of a boozehound. (Although, to be fair, she only drinks when Robert Pattinson talks. It's not a bad idea.) Drink every time she:
- steals someone else's drink.
- gropes R-Pattz with her trunk.
- is poured a bucket of booze.
- steps on a top hat.

Or, simply drink constantly throughout the cheesy, unnecessary modern-day framing sequences starring Hal Holbrook. You will be drunk ten minutes into the movie, and unconscious by the time the credits roll. You're welcome.

Watch an unscripted conversation between Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.

Did you see Water for Elephants? Tell us what you thought below, then see moviedom's most ridiculous couples and Reese's best and worst roles. And read more movie reviews here!

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