The Family Stone review by Cinema Guru BoyIf you've seen Home For the Holidays, then there's no reason to see The Family Stone. Holidays wasn't any good itself, but Stone is an even more watered down version. So a dysfunctional family gets together for the holidays, who cares?
So here we have Meredith Morton, played by the incredibly annoying Sarah Jessica Parker, and Everett Stone, portrayed by Dermot Mulroney, as a couple on the cusp of engagement, and Everett wants her to meet his family. Right off the bat, as the couple is introduced in a department store bombarded with annoying Christmas muzak, Meredith's character is summed up in about three seconds. She's one of those annoying cell-phone-people-in-public types of professionals. She's a wiz in business, but socially inept. The audience is, in the first minute of the film, told they will be annoyed by their main character for the next two hours. But will hilarity ensue?
And then the rest of the Stone family is introduced: matriarch and patriarch Sybil (Diane Keaton) and Kelly (Craig T Nelson), 20-something stuck in her teen angst phase Amy (Rachel McAdams), pregnant Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser), deaf Thad (Tyrone Giordano) and his please-let-us-be-as-edgy-as-Six-Feet-Under interracial husband Patrick (Brian White), and Ben (Luke Wilson) is the pothead type who has no qualms about eying his brother's girl. Now, this family loves each other, and loves showing their affection with one another, which is creepy enough in and of itself. But they're very comfortable with their kids' sexual habits and the kids call the parents by their first names, both of which are excessively weird and unnatural. And once they establish themselves as not taking very kindly to outsiders, it adds another dimension to their creepiness and level of annoying. This is the first time anyone has met Meredith, except for a previous dinner intro to Amy, and everyone hates her. So far we have no likable characters here at all. But appearently Meredith's fish-out-of-water routine is supposed to be enough to keep us interested in the progression of this dysfunctional dynamic.
So what does Everett see in Meredith? The characters themselves voice this concern, but even the audience isn't let in on the answer. Why have these people been dating for so long, and why does Everett want to propose? And then, why is Ben eyeballing and flirting? Why is she desirable to men and hated at first glance by the women and homosexuals? As stated, she's played by Sarah Jessica Parker, so she's not attractive at all. She's emotionally and socially inept. And she's just annoying as one of those constant relationship-analyzing broads. So she calls her likable, stunning sister Julie (Claire Danes) for an emotional crutch to spend a dysfunctional Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the hard-to-please Stones. Now, with a second potential love interest, more dysfunction ensues.
The cast is good enough. Parker is annoying, so having her play an annoying character works. Everyone else falls into place well enough, but the characters are written to suck. Writer/director Thomas Bezucha doesn't seem to care that a movie about the love of a family is annoying to everyone watching from the outside. The sweet parts aren't very sweet, the funny parts aren't at all funny, and the storyline is predictable with a totally unrealistic and ungratifying climax and denoument. There 1001 movies in this genre that nailed it better than this one.
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