The Family Stone (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/12/2005

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

Disappointing and ultimately irritating film that fails on several counts, despite a handful of strong performances.

The Background
Hollywood tends to churn out a dysfunctional family Christmas movie every year. Last year saw the abominable double of Saving Christmas and Christmas With The Kranks, while the year before fared much better with indie drama Pieces of April. This year we have The Family Stone.

The Story
Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson play married New England couple Sybil and Kelly Stone, who have their five grown-up children home for the Christmas holidays. Oldest son Everett (Dermot Mulroney) brings home his uptight New Yorker girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) to meet the family for the first time.

Unfortunately, Meredith gets off to a rocky start with the Stones and it isn’t long before she enlists the help of her younger sister Julie (Claire Danes). However, this backfires spectacularly when Everett begins to develop feelings for Julie, whilst sibling Ben takes a shine to Meredith.

The Good
There are some strong performances here, notably from Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Luke Wilson and Claire Danes. Rachel McAdams is enjoyably spiky, if too nasty to really ring true.

The Bad
The worst problem with The Family Stone is that it desperately wants to be a jet-black comedy and an emotional, family movie at the same time. It fails spectacularly on both counts, largely because it isn’t funny and most of the characters are deeply unlikeable.

Worse still, the key reconciliation scene suggests that there is no family problem that can’t be sorted out by good present-buying. Similarly, the film is incapable of eliciting any real emotion.

The Conclusion
The Family Stone is a huge disappointment, despite the efforts of its cast. Basically, the funniest thing about it is its poster. Avoid like a drunken relative.

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The Family Stone (PG)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 23:07

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