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Everybody's Fine


Stars: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, Lucian Maisel, Damian Young, James Frain, Katherine Moennig, James Murtaugh, Brendan Sexton III, Kene Holliday, Lily Sheen, Chandler Frantz, Mackenzie Milone, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick

Director: Kirk Jones

There’s enough sugary sentiment injected into this family drama to make the film a potential danger to diabetics. And the story is the hallowed one about estranged families who almost inevitably finally come together again - usually at Christmas. That’s certainly the case here, complete with seasonal trimmings and enough bonhomie to make a statue nauseous. However, give director Jones some credit for apparently realising how his Americanised revamp of Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990 movie comes across since he gives De Niro the immortal line, “I’ll cook the turkey”. It certainly is one but to heap all the blame on De Niro is perhaps a tad unfair, perhaps, since Jones contributed heavily to the wearisome experience.

Widower De Niro, understandably wearing the expression of a constipation sufferer and acting with a capital ‘A’, realises his four adult children are never going to get around to coming to his house and sets out across the States to make contact with them again. One son has vanished and while his other children know why and how, they keep the reason from him. Close encounters with Beckinsale and Barrymore provide the drama while Rockwell is simply irritating as usual. I assume it’s meant to be an up market tearjerker, but I can’t imagine many people – apart from those who invested in the film – finding moisture escaping from their eyes.

It’s glossy and professionally put together but wrapping a piece of overripe cheese in gold foil doesn’t make it any more digestible.

Alan Frank

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

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

Review date: 25 Feb 2010