Sunday, December 18, 2005
Film Review: The Family Stone
"feel the love indeed... or don't bother"
The Family Stone (PG)
Dir. Thomas Bezucha
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade… Oh sorry, got distracted there, but if you’re feeling at all Christmassy (as I am) then you may want to give The Family Stone a miss. From the trailer you’d be forgiven for expecting a fun filled festive romp - where uppity, uptight Sarah Jessica Parker gets humiliated by her hunky boyfriend Everett's relatives. In reality what you get is a downer family drama with mild comedy moments that really don’t sit comfortably in the muddle of issues that this film takes on.
It isn’t a completely bad film – you just need to know that you’re getting yourself into a melodramatic melting pot of strained relationships, smug clichéd characters and cheesy romantic tangles. The stunning Rachel ‘Wedding Crashers’ McAdams at least offers something watchable to take your mind off the fairly tedious plot that stumbles along like it’s been on the sauce at the Christmas office party.
Thomas Bezucha directs The Family Stone without any real panache but the cast try their best to save the film by giving their all. Luke Wilson, is great as the worldly wise pothead brother, Claire Danes is lovely as Parker’s less uptight sister and Diane Keaton goes for the emotional jugular with her ‘matriarch who hasn’t got long to live’ mother of the family. But there’s no shaking the whiff of turkey in the air and even though The Family Stone kept my attention, my feelings towards it are steadily growing colder than the snow threatening evening air outside. In fact I can’t see myself ever wanting to watch it again as it really is a disposable chunk of by the numbers bittersweet comedy drama. But, if you’re itching for a big screen issue fest – The Family Stone has more than its fair share: bigotry, homophobia, race and disabled issues are all on the menu of one particularly dark dinner table scene but call me old fashioned that’s not really what I’m looking for in my Christmas movie viewing…As Wilson’s character says at one point: “You have the freak flag, you just don't fly it”, I think that sums up the movie as a whole, its got the guts to tackle divisive issues but it wimps out of really letting rip. The Family Stone is a chewy Christmas humbug but when the loud battle noise of Narnia from the next screen along could be heard over the poignant conversation, I began to feel I was in the wrong screen… Happy Christmas!!
Darkmatt Rating: öö (Stone Cold)
Reviews of other stuff you might want to read indexed here
"Miss McAdams... one reason to see Family Stone"
Posted by Matt Adcock at 8:23 pm