Review Date: January 04, 2002
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson
Producers: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Barry Mendel
Gene Hackman as Royal Tenenbaum
Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson as Richie Tenenbaum
Of course, all of that is bathed in high style, plenty of songs and a cast of characters that I personally loved spending every minute with, and I guess that's all the purpose that I really needed. I had fun watching this movie. I didn't crack up like a hyena but I did laugh during many scenes and appreciated the darker tones of its humor. I especially loved the lead character in Royal Tenenbaum and Gene Hackman. I tell you, this guy was awesome in his small role in HEARTBREAKERS earlier this year, and here he is playing a full-blown loveable a-hole to a tee. If you don't "get into" his character, I highly doubt that you will like this film at all. In fact, the movie itself definitely isn't for all tastes. Much like RUSHMORE (which I lent to my parents one night and they've barely spoken to me since-"Was that supposed to be a comedy, son?"), the comedy here has more to do with the situations, the deadpan looks, the sarcasm, the dry nature of the humor and Owen Wilson...just being...Owen Wilson! And before I forget, I have to mention the cast, all of whom did a great job with their characters, despite not really have too much time consecrated to any one of them. My favorites (other than the great Hackman!) included Owen Wilson (who's just funny, even when he's just sitting there-the Charlie Rose-esque interview session was hilarious!), Luke Wilson (who actually came off as the solid anchor in the film), Gwyneth Paltrow (looking better than ever, I must say) and Anjelica Huston (who was solid throughout). I will say that Stiller didn't impress me as much as he usually does and Bill Murray was sadly underused, but on the whole, they all blended together really well, even good ol' Pagoda (yup, same guy from RUSHMORE and BOTTLE ROCKET), who once knifed the patriarch of the Tenenbaum household in a New Delhi bazaar (but was nice enough to take him to the hospital afterwards).
Granted, I didn't think the whole brother/sister love angle was as interesting as Royal's attempt to win back his family (which was thankfully the greater emphasis of the film), but all in all, most of the plot points gelled nicely, and many scenes remain memorable to me even now (the "family day" that Royal spent with his grandkids and Luke Wilson's "meltdown" tennis match were respective blasts!) Of course, a review of the film simply isn't complete without mention of its wondrous soundtrack, which manages to blend the perfect tunes at just the right times (I don't personally dig on most 60/70s music, but whenever I watch Anderson's films...they work!) No dick and fart jokes here, folks. This is a clever movie filled with satirical characters living over-the-top lives and plenty of...yup, quirkiness all around. Not for all tastes, but definitely my kind of flick! "And this is my adopted daughter, Margot"