So I saw a movie during the Christmas break. With the family. With King Kong being deemed to intense for the 10 year old present and Narnia being deemed to childish for the adults who weren't me, we at last settled on 'The Family Stone.' Actually "we" didn't settle on anything, the decision was made and tickets purchased behind my back (and yes, the wife will pay for this). The review has something of a spoiler, but if you want my honest opinion, it'll have more laughs than the actual movie.
New England family that the writers really wished were funny, quirky, or remotely interesting have a reunion for Christmas, hilarity ensues (oh, if only . . . .).
I laughed exactly twice, both during slapstick jokes that were not particularly well done. This movie is advertised as a comedy, draw your own conclusions.
Tears and Lumps: 0
As some of you may know, I've had my share of family tragedy this year. You'd think that a movie that tries its hardest to illicit tears through depicting a family tragedy would effect me more than this does. What I felt worse about was the sinking feeling that we could've been seeing King Kong.
Heres where the movie falls apart. Being that this is an ensemble piece with few laughs and virtually no plot, it is absolutely essential that the characters be appealing. Yes they are pleasant enough, just not very memorable or entertaining. I'm not a huge fan of Diane Keaton, but I can understand her appeal. She's fine here, but there's just not much to her character. Dermot Mulroney has got to be the blandest leading man in the history of film, the fact that the movie follows his story closely is a huge minus. Sarah Jessica Parker is ok playing the jittery neurotic girlfriend. Nothing terribly wrong with the rest of the performances, its just that the characters and circumstances are so uncompelling that I did not get invested at all.
Compounding the fact that the characters had me bored was the complete lack of anything interesting for them to do. From the moment Claire Danes' character was introduced, I knew exactly where this movie was headed. There were no twists worth anything for anyone who's seen at least 10 movies in their lifetime. Did I mention there's a tragedy? Just what I love seeing on Christmas.
Here's where the movie scores highest, all due to one shot of topless Diane Keaton post-mastectomy (i.e. theres a scar there instead of boobie). Yes, it was repulsive and made me cringe, but it was also easily the biggest reaction the movie got from me.
The other guiltless categories don't really apply here. The least appealing film I've seen in quite some time. Only if you enjoy mind-numbing predictability with your feel-good Christmas tragedy.