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Running with Scissors


Stars: Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Cross, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Jill Clayburgh, Evan Rachel Wood, Gwyneth Paltrow, Patrick Wilson, Gabrielle Union

Director: Ryan Murphy

This Godawful offering is hopefully the last blast from the 'American dysfunctional family' movie, a genre that, with one or two honourable exceptions, I'll be glad to see the back of.

This one runs like a modish Sixties film, only with much coarser language. Augusten Burroughs (Cross) lives with his batty mother (Bening), a faded poet, and his drunken father (Baldwin). Mom is impossible to live with, so Augusten's parents are understandably always squabbling, and Dad is eventually driven out.

Promising her son that 'I'll visit you in my dreams', Mom billets the hapless sub-teen with her deranged therapist (Cox) and his equally batty family, who live in a litter-strewn pink house. Facing adoption by the heinous Prof, Augusten finds brief relief in his first gay affair, with the unhinged Bookman (Fiennes), who eventually tries - and, alas, fails - to kill the Prof with the titular scissors.

This might sound fun but, take my word, it isn't. As the Prof's younger daughter, Wood has the same boring role she's played before. Paltrow has little to do as her sister. Whatever happened to her star career? Bening, faced with an overripe and impossible role, gives it the old Oscar try.

The hero of this dreary and artificial lark grew up, we're told, to be a famous author. You've heard of him, of course? No, I didn't think so.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Sony (Tri-Star). Colour by De Luxe.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 28 Jan 2007