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The Family Stone
6 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Thomas Bezucha

Written By:
Thomas Bezucha

Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Schneider, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Brian J. White, Tyrone Giordano

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The Family Stone (2005)
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Movie Review by Tony
May 14th, 2006

THE FAMILY STONE follows the rule that any and every family in a Hollywood film must be dysfunctional, fight often, and be full of crazy, yet lovable eccentrics. Normality need not apply. It is not wanted or needed. We want wackos, goofs, oddballs, and enough dysfunction to fill up a week long series on JERRY SPRINGER. Hollywood loves this as it has been used quite often, most recently with JUNEBUG on a smaller level, and on bigger levels GUESS WHO and MEET THE FOCKERS.

So since we have seen the formula quite often of boyfriend/girlfriend meets boyfriend/girlfriends crazy family, the question lies in is THE FAMILY STONE different from ones we have seen before? Yes and no is the simple answer. Yes, in that it has a little more heart and sweetness to it and does not relie on too much sitcom level humor. Although, there is moments that follow that, such as falling down face first into food. But it's not what the whole film is about. No, in the sense that is somewhat predictable, a bit contrived, and gets a bit unrealistic towards the end.

Sarah Jessica Parker, fresh off her hit HBO series SEX AND THE CITY stars as Meredith Morton, an uptight and conservative workhorse, who has plenty of designer suits to go around. Her boyfriend is Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney), who has a family full of quirky, outgoing, and unique eccentrics. Starting with Momma Stone (Diane Keaton), who from the get-go is not a fan of her sons choice in perhaps future wife. Also, Amy (Rachel McAdams) who is outspoken as well against her.

That is only getting started describing the various members of this Stone family. We have Thad Stone (Tyrone Giordano), who is gay and deaf with his partner Patrick Thomas (Brian White.) Also, we have the father Kelly (Craig T. Nelson), horny and comical Ben (Luke Wilson), and rounding out the Stone family is pregnant Susannah Stone (Elizabeth Reaser), with her young child Elizabeth (Savannah Stehlin.). This is one large family, if I do say so myself. So imagine, how scared and intimated Meredith must be upon meeting all of them.

What occurs is what we expect mostly. She tries hard to impress them, they reject her, she gets frustrated, etc. Nothing too ground breaking or original to note. But the film flourishes in that it is has so many people coming and go, it is never boring. Luke Wilson provides the funniest moments of the film with his slacker, horny, college boy role. Rachel McAdams matures her MEAN GIRLS role, as she is verbally vicious and cruel. I like McAdams more in mean and juicer roles, then her girl next door roles in RED EYE or NOTEBOOK. She really sinks her teeth into the more b*tchy aspect of the characters. Keaton is wonderfully as well as the leader of this crazy house, as she is lovable yet stern. Sarah Jessica Parker, is also good in this uptight, stick up her ass, takes herself too seriously role.

The last 45 minutes of the film turns from comedy to some heavy drama, and also gets a bit too contrived for my liking. Too much happens, too many changes, and a bit over kill on the plot changes, and Claire Danes arrives as Parker's sister, and what happens with her is also expected and predictable. The minute her character arrives on screen, you know she's there to shake up the plot in ways we can see from a mile away. I was a bit disappointed with all of this, yet I'm still giving THE FAMILY STONE a mild recommendation. After hearing my complaints, you might be confused why.

THE FAMILY STONE is for lack of a better term a family film. Not family as in Disney, but family is in everyone from the family will go on a Holiday to rent it or see it, and cry together, laugh together, and have a good time together. Grandma, Mom, Dad, Uncle, Aunt, Brother, Sister, and they will go see this together, enjoy it together and neither sex will mind too much. There is enough comedy and sex related humor to satisfy the guys, and enough tears and tender moments to satisfy the female portion of your family. THE FAMILY STONE does what it sets out to do, and does it well.

If you have ever had a family like this, you'll relate and enjoy THE FAMILY STONE. There's enough tears and laughs to go around here to over-set the films flaws. THE FAMILY STONE, or THE FAMILY STONED for your stoners is out there, is one that stone that should not be left unturned. Not one of my better puns, but I'm trying!

Tony Farinella

Grade: B-

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