It Runs in the Family
The tribute to America's love affair with the Douglas family was best exemplified by the fact that two of the other five people in my theater were taking wagers on what date Kirk Douglas would die.
The film includes four members of the Douglas clan: Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Cameron Douglas (Michael's kid) and Diana Douglas (Michael's mother and Kirk's ex-wife). They have the same familial relationships in the movie that they do in real life. The fairly obvious casting decision (as opposed to Michael's mother playing his wife, for example) is about the only thing this film has going for it.
Director Fred Schepisi, who's last remotely tolerable film was "Six Degrees of Separation" a whopping ten years ago, conducts this film like he's the one who's had a stroke. It follows the dysfunctional Gromberg family on a road to nowhere. Basically, we get to spend a few days with Alex (Michael), his wife Rebecca (Bernadette Peters), their sons Asher (Cameron) and Eli (Rory Culkin), and Alex's parents, Evelyn (Diana) and Mitchell (Kirk), as they snipe at each other. The film is about as exciting as witnessing some dull suburban family's therapy session.
I'm really most appalled at the fact that this film has absolutely no story. All that happens is that the Grombergs go through a phase. Eli's phase is that he kisses a girl and toughens up a bit. Asher's phase is that he messes up badly and realizes he needs to grow up. Alex's phase is that he learns he needs to focus on what's important.
Mr. Cranky's phase was that I learned what a steaming pile of crap the "phase" movie can be.
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