(out of 5)

The terrifying adventure of raising kids is the subject of this absolutely wonderful comedy-drama.  stars as an exasperated, overworked dad who has to deal with his emotionally unstable son () and his beautiful wife’s () frustrations. Martin’s sister () is dealing with single motherhood, trying to do right by her rebellious daughter () and uncommunicative son (, then known as Leaf). Martin’s other sister () is married to an overachieving brainiac () who seems to want their five year-old daughter to get her PhD before she even hits the first grade. Enter the wild card, the youngest brother of the family () who always brings disaster in his gambling-addicted wake, while his aging parents (, ) continue to try and help. The cast is uniformly excellent, with a brilliant Wiest getting the choicest moments and lines (the scene where she looks through her daughter’s sex photos is a scream). Ron Howard’s surprisingly good direction and the smart screenplay deftly mix serious, heartfelt situations with terrific comedy that makes the whole experience come off as something extremely close to home for anyone watching.

Imagine Entertainment, Universal Pictures

USA, 1989

Directed by

Story by , , Ron Howard, Screenplay by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1989

Golden Globe Awards 1989


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