The Family Fang (2015)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  

USA, 2015.  , , , , , .  Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Jason Bateman, , , , , , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Toronto International Film Festival 2015.  

directs and stars in this promising but ultimately ineffective adaptation of the novel by Kevin Wilson.  He and plays siblings who have entered a complicated adulthood after being raised by their performance artist parents (played in the past by and , in the present by and ) whose craft centered around disruptive pranks in public settings, the kind of thing that could only have earned them grant money in the seventies.  Kidman is now a low-grade movie star and Bateman a novelist with writer’s block who is taking money for magazine articles on subjects he’s not proud of, including one about potato guns that gets him sent to the hospital with an injury to his ear.  The brother and sister are informed that their parents have gone missing, their car found abandoned with traces of blood on the dashboard, and they both assume it’s another performance piece, resisting the alarm that the authorities raise for what they believe is an abduction or possibly worse.  Trying to figure out where their folks have gone leads to painful memories of an unconventional childhood, one whose harsh coming-of-age experiences force these two to contemplate whether or not they really had it all that bad or if they’re just not looking at it the right way.  Rather than really explore this, though, the film caps its narrative with a conclusion that defies even the characters’ worst expectations but leaves the audience feeling slightly rushed out the door.  The end result is a respectable effort on everyone’s part, though the uneven screenplay makes Bateman and Kidman feel like guests in a production that never establishes its central figures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s