Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 2005. The Family Stone, Fox 2000 Pictures, Major Studio Partners, Michael London Productions, Pan Productions. Screenplay by Thomas Bezucha. Cinematography by Jonathan Brown. Produced by Michael London. Music by Michael Giacchino. Production Design by Jane Ann Stewart. Costume Design by Shay Cunliffe. Film Editing by Jeffrey Ford.
Uptight conservative Sarah Jessica Parker goes home for Christmas with fiance Dermot Mulroney to meet his liberal family for the first time. What she encounters is a closely-knit clan that has no idea how to treat a newcomer, warm and quirky but hardly inviting. Mother hen Diane Keaton is a nightmare of jagged edges and witty jabs, while bitchy sister Rachel McAdams, slacker brother Luke Wilson and all-too-patient, practically benign dad Craig T. Nelson seem to be conspiring to make Parker’s life a living hell. It’s no wonder she calls her much more relaxed sister Claire Danes to join the festivities and give her moral support. Thomas Bezucha’s nightmarish holiday film doesn’t quite equal the sum of its parts, it has no idea what kind of film it wants to be and the script is uneven, but he mines gold from the cast. Each performance is explosively good, especially Parker, who plays someone her character on Sex And The City could never have even talked to, and does it with incredible strength and believability. What makes it worth watching, however, are the moments when it really hits its stride, some of them incredibly tender, others terrifying in their intensity, and still others hitting too close to home for comfort. An overall worthwhile, if underwhelming, effort.
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Sarah Jessica Parker)