Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Movie Review: The Family Stone

The Family Stone follows a well-worn tradition of family comedy which offers moments of laughter but, ultimately, becomes so cliched it disappoints. The Stone family are gathering for their annual Christmas celebrations. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) is bringing his girlfriend, Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) along to meet the family for the first time. But Meredith is an extremely uptight person and just knows the family is not going to like her. And, of course, they don't and make it clear that they don't want their son marrying her. Things get so bad that Meredith moves out to the local inn and contacts her sister, Julie (Claire Danes), to come and visit for moral support. Her sister is a stunning blonde who seems to fit right in and only makes matters worse. On top of all that, Everett shows signs of attraction to Julie! The central narrative focuses around the tension between the family and Meredith. Rachel McAdams, playing a mean and outspoken Amy Stone, easily turns the family against Meredith, before she even arrives, with her gossip - and does a good job of the part. The rest of the family operate with innuendo, sarcasm, and other forms of backstabbing. The one person who sees behind the Type-A personality of Meredith is the easygoing Ben Stone (Luke Wilson) - who has a reputation for being stoned - and who gently pursues Meredith throughout the movie. There are lots of subplots going on and a whole range of quirky characters make the film a smorgasbord of emotional tension with comic relief. The most disappointing aspect of the movie is the ending which is so cliched that it ruins what pleasure we may have gained from the movie up until then. The Family Stone gives some laughs but ultimately plummets like a stone. My Rating: *** (out of 5) Positive Review 'The Family Stone may not be super-serious or even, well, sly, but none of that matters: this is a warm and engaging film that is sure to become a perennial Christmas favorite.' - Rachel Clarke/Premiere Negative Review 'Bezucha made something perverse, a feel-bad holiday film about a repellent family, with a milquetoast dad and a smug, devious harpy of a mom.' - Mick LaSalle/San Francisco Chronicle Content Advice Some sexual content including dialogue, and drug references

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