There's Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as headliners Yolanda and Rhonda Johnson, a country duet act and veterans of the county fair circuit. Lindsay Lohan as Yolanda's daughter Lola, who finally makes her debut on the show, only to forget the words. Kevin Kline as Guy Noir, a private eye whose lack of clientele in the Midwestern metropolis necessitates his moonlighting as a bouncer backstage. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly as cowpoke comedians Lefty and Rusty, aka The Old Trailhands. And then there's Keillor himself in a drolly self-deprecating performance as a sort of rambling old man whose stories everyone's heard and who constantly needs to be reminded to zip up his "barn door."
Meanwhile, adding further texture are "SNL's" very pregnant Maya Rudolph as the much-put-upon stage manager, seething with impatience, and the wonderfully nuanced L.Q. Jones as a musician giving his literally last performance, a strong public face barely masking heartbreaking anguish. With all this rich characterization, Virginia Madsen's mysterious stranger -- an angel of mercy? -- feels gimmicky and distracts from the otherwise wonderful work. Starring Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Tommy Lee Jones, Lily Tomlin, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson, Virginia Madsen, Maya Rudolph and Lindsay Lohan. Directed by Robert Altman. Written by Garrison Keillor. Produced by Robert Altman, Wren Arthur, Joshua Astrachan, Tony Judge and David Levy. A Picturehouse release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for risque humor. Running time: 105 min