(out of 5)
Grandfather Rip Torn dies, bringing a highly dysfunctional family together again for the first time in ages. Granddaughter Zooey Deschanel observes her struggling actor father (Hank Azaria), her irresponsible uncle (Ray Romano), her angry, uncooperative aunt (Debra Winger) and happily coupled lesbian aunt (Kelly Preston) combust like fireworks when reunited, at each other’s throats with nothing but accusations and blame. Is it any wonder that grandmother Piper Laurie wants desperately to kill herself? Also thrown into the mix are some heinous children and Preston’s fiancee (Famke Janssen) who can only wonder at what she’s marrying into. Some appealing performances make this one a minor charmer, though the familiarity of the plot will seem like a retread to those who have already seen Home For The Holidays, The Family Stone, The Myth Of Fingerprints, Kingdom Come etc., and the surprises it offers in its conclusion do very little to distinguish the film from others of its ilk. The cast is a mixed bag, with terrific work from cast members Winger and Glenne Headly (as the nurse at the hospital who keeps having to deal with Laurie), a weak turn by Preston, and Romano looking like he’s in the wrong movie.
Directed by Michael Clancy
Screenplay by Michael Clancy
Cinematography by Michael Chapman
Music by George S. Clinton
Production Design by Dina Lipton
Costume Design by Tracy Tynan