A woman meets her future in-laws and discovers they don’t much care for her in this comedy from writer and director Thomas Bezucha. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) is a successful young businessman who is dating Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker), and has asked her to spend Christmas with his family, with plans to ask his mother, Sybil (Diane Keaton), for the titular family wedding band and propose to Meredith on Christmas Day.
I hadn’t really intended to see this film, had it in my Blockbuster queue just as a filler. Looked like an OK chick Flick, but nothing I needed to see. Then my step-sister told me she loved this movie. “Love-love-loved it!” Alrighty then, I’ll give it a go….
…and I will end up feeling like I just wasted an hour and a half.
The premise is fairly simple, and something that would be quite familiar to a lot of people. Boy brings home Girl to meet the Family before he proposes to her; Girl is uncomfortable, Family doesn’t like her, hilarity ensues, cue laugh track. Unfortunately, the writer/director(?), or whoever, wasn’t satisfied with that. What they end up giving us is a cast of unrelate-able characters, most of whom have no redeeming qualities whatsoever – in fact it seemed as if they lacked humanity altogether. Even the most heinous villain should have some vulnerability or charm to make us care about the story, I couldn’t have cared less about the majority of this group.
They finally become a bit human in the last ten minutes of the film, but the various nauseating & absurd (though predictable) couplings spoil even that.
It manages a 1.5 simply because of the two girlfriends I have who may want to see this, and who I wouldn’t actively dissuade. They both love Sarah Jessica Parker and this is her in her neurotic element.
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 51%; Audience 61%
A few gems:
“A feel-bad holiday film about a repellent family, with a milquetoast dad and a smug, devious harpy of a mom.” — Mick LaSalle, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
“There are many ways to define the shrieking awfulness of The Family Stone, from the general lack of wit to the cheap exploitation of cancer to its casual cruelty.” — Stephen Hunter, WASHINGTON POST
“It doesn’t matter how many fine actors are assembled in a film, if the script is terrible, then the movie can’t be good.” —Jeanne Kaplan, KAPLAN VS KAPLAN
“Rarely have I seen such a maudlin, manipulative, mean-spirited mess masquerading as a holiday comedy.” —Susan Granger, MODAMAG.COM