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The Family Stone (2005)
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Review Date: January 09, 2006
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Writer: Thomas Bezucha
Producers: Michael London
Actors:
Sarah Jessica Parker as Meredith
Dermot Mulroney as Everett
Diane Keaton as Sybil
Plot:
One of the brothers in a big family is bringing his soon-to-be fiancé home for the Christmas holidays and is a little nervous because she’s a little uptight and hard-to-take at times, and his family members are…well, not so nice all the time. What follows is our cinematic trek through the holidays with a bigass family and all of their issues. Drinking ensues! (I’m talking about my holidays here)
Critique:
A decent holiday flick which I don’t foresee becoming an annual Christmas classic, but certainly worth checking out, especially if you’re in the mood for some family loving, some family squabbling and Sarah Jessica Parker in a really tight…hair bun. Actually, the film does a good job of mixing things up with plenty of winter scenery, a nice cozy score and soundtrack, a couple of funny moments here and there, and plenty of dramatics as well. In fact, I was quite surprised to find that it was actually much more of a drama than a comedy, with a handful of potent emotional scenes spicing things up, including one in which Diane Keaton and her husband share a bed and more, and another involving an overdue conversation between Keaton and her son, the always-handsome Dermot Mulroney. The film’s other great strength was its cast, which was filled with “name actors”, all seemingly enjoying themselves in their respective parts, with Parker standing out the most as the stuck-up beeya, Rachel McAdams playing the mean beeya to a tee, Luke Wilson punching the clock very well as the easy-going slacker in the family and the great Craig T. Nelson coming through as the head of the household (Coach!!). But with grand casts come grand responsibilities, primary of which is to make sure that each of those characters is developed and means something to the audience. That’s a pretty hard task to accomplish in any film, but this one only lasted about 95 minutes, and seemed to focus a little too much on the Parker character.

That didn’t work for me so much, mainly because I couldn’t really appreciate the family’s point of view vis-à-vis the so-called tight-ass. It seemed to me like it was the family who were the ones who required a bit more manners, and not necessarily Parker’s character, who despite having definite foot-in-mouth disease, never seemed to consciously want to hurt anyone, while the family members, well…did! I also would have liked to have known more about the third sister, who wasn’t dealt with much, and I certainly could have done without the deaf, gay brother with a black boyfriend who together want to adopt a child. Pull it back a little, guys…most of the characters in the film were believable, but this dude had political agenda written all over him! That said, the film worked overall, with lots of family tiffs, personality clashes, holiday cheers and tears and even a damn chase around the house set to X-Mas music filling it up with decent entertainment value. Know this though, an underlying “sadness” permeates the entire movie, so don’t expect to walk out hootin’ and hollerin’…it’s more of a reflective flick, which is all fine and good around this time of year. Merry Christmas, everyone! – oh, and it was so nice to hear that phrase said over and over again in this movie…political correctness has gotten out of control!
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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11:30PM on 01/19/2006

GREAT BUT...

I absolutely adored the film most of the time. Excellent performances, nice characters, great dialogue, hilarious scenes and very touching moments. But the last 10 minutes or so were so obvious and predictable that I felt robbed. The don't go along with the rest of the movie which had a very different tone and feel from other Christmas and family films. Still a very good film.
I absolutely adored the film most of the time. Excellent performances, nice characters, great dialogue, hilarious scenes and very touching moments. But the last 10 minutes or so were so obvious and predictable that I felt robbed. The don't go along with the rest of the movie which had a very different tone and feel from other Christmas and family films. Still a very good film.
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4:52AM on 01/09/2006
I thought I would enjoy this movie but I didn't expect to love it as much as I do. This movie came as a welcome surprise and is COMPLETELY different that what the trailer makes it look like. It's so much more moving and poignant than the trailer makes it look. The whole cast is terrific. Everyone gives a pitch perfect performance. Not a weak link among them with Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker probably being the standouts. I've never been a terribly big fan of Parker's. From what little
I thought I would enjoy this movie but I didn't expect to love it as much as I do. This movie came as a welcome surprise and is COMPLETELY different that what the trailer makes it look like. It's so much more moving and poignant than the trailer makes it look. The whole cast is terrific. Everyone gives a pitch perfect performance. Not a weak link among them with Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker probably being the standouts. I've never been a terribly big fan of Parker's. From what little I've seen of it, Sex and the City is one of the most overrated shows I've ever seen. But Parker is perfect here. You can litterally feel how uncomfortable she is in the begining of the movie. And she is equally great when her character gradually becomes looser and starts opening up. The chemistry between her and Luke Wilson is really great. Equally great is the chemistry between Dermot Mulrony and Claire Danes. I really see how those characters really connected. The whole family dynamic is completely convincing. Craig T. Nelson is wonderful as the father. Rachel McAdams continues to develop her career well with another terrific performance. And the ending really touched me. This movie totally surprised me. It's definately one of the best films of the year!
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