The Kids Are All Right

Bomb Rating: 

If you are a young Hollywood director like Lisa Cholodenko looking to make an impact, why not throw together a slice of life film, seen through the lens of a long-term gay couple. It’s quick, easy and painless – all you need to do is add the right ingredients, mix the proper stereotypes together and let it bake under the hot L.A. sun for 106 minutes. Slap it in a film canister when it’s done, and you have the latest snoozer to hit the multiplexes, "The Kids Are All Right."

Want to serve the same kind of dreck at home? Here’s how to do it:

  • Take one workaholic, professional (preferably doctor or lawyer) parent who has a drinking problem and can’t properly express their feelings. Because any successful person with an important job has to be a complete loser in all other areas of his or her life. THOSE ARE THE RULES, AMERICA! In the past, this part would have been played by Michael Douglas, but since we’re dealing with lesbians here, make it Annette Benning.
  • Add a spaced-out, post-hippy mom with a history of not following through on her dreams. Give her an art degree, if possible, but you can always settle for one of those other useless educations no one ever actually puts to good use, like architecture or small arms repair. Make sure to cast Julianne Moore so that the eventual nudity isn’t too gross, but still believably mom-looking.
  • Need some kids in the mix – how about a boy and a girl named Joni and Laser. That’s right, Laser. Stop fucking looking at me like that.
  • The final ingredient: a roguish, immature restaurant owner played by someone scruffy-looking, like Mark Ruffalo. Make him ride a vintage motorcycle and be irresistible to women. Oh yeah, and he’s a sperm donor, which isn't sleazy or weird at all.

Once you've got everything together in a bowl, it's time to suspend disbelief and welcome what film studios think gay couples are really like. We'll start with the fact that Ruffalo's jism ended up inside both Benning and Moore on the basis of a fucking one page essay that he wrote when he was 19 years old. Let's continue with the idea that somehow him showing interest in Moore's fledgling landscaping company is so erotic that it pushes her to throw away two decades of domestic bliss and accept the male member into her dusty vagina. Close on a shot of Ruffalo still trying to maintain a connection with the kids-that-are-his-but-not-really-his, and add a pinch of wistful "first day at college."

Voila – total schlock. This is exactly the kind of wish-fulfillment plot that probably wouldn't even make it to the pages of a Harlequin romance. That's right – the book series featuring titles such as "A Daddy For Christmas" and "The Voluminous Widower" would take a pass on "The Kids Are All Right." And so should you, unless you enjoy seeing the same tired clichés cut and pasted from one version of domestic drudgery to another without even the slightest consideration for how people actually live their lives.

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