Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Movie Review: "The Family Stone" (2005)

Image Source
Movie"The Family Stone"
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Year: 2005
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

It's Christmas time and the family Stone are all gathering together for a nice family holiday. The oldest son the bunch, Everett (Dermot Mulroney), is bringing his girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) to meet his family. Unfortunately, they aren't too receptive of her and do everything they can to make Meredith as uncomfortable and unwelcome as possible. When Meredith invites her sister Julie (Claire Danes) over for emotional support, things don't get any better. Everett is obviously attracted to Julie and his family treats her wonderfully, making Meredith that much more out of place. 

Have you ever watched a Christmas movie and said, "I know what this movie needs: more hatred, more partner swapping, and more cancer." Well, your worries are over because "The Family Stone" has all of that and then some. "The Family Stone" is billed as a romantic comedy of sorts, but those two words shouldn't be anywhere near this movie. The film we saw is neither romantic nor remotely funny. The Stone's couldn't be a more hypocritical, mean and rude group of people if they tried, the worst offender of which is Amy (Rachel McAdams), who despises Meredith for having the audacity to take her out to a nice dinner, clear her throat once in a while, and talk too much. She immediately convinces the rest of the family that Meredith is a terrible, fake person and that they should all essentially treat her like shit for the duration of her stay. The rest of the family does just that as they never even give her the slightest benefit of the doubt or a chance to redeem herself, for what we're not sure. For a family that calls her fake, phony and terrible, they sure as shit are fake as hell, phony as a $3 bill, and as terrible as the worst family you can imagine. The only reason we can legitimately think of for the family disliking Meredith off the bat is that she's a well-off businesswoman, so automatically without getting to know her, they assume she's an uptight bitch.

Despite the fact Everett claims he wants to propose and make Meredith his wife, the family, one by one, begins to beg him not to do so after spending less than a day with her. The matriarch of the family, Sybil (Diane Keaton), even goes as far as refusing to give Everett her mother's ring, which she promised him she'd bequeath to him when the time came that he found a women he wanted to marry. But hey, maybe Meredith and Everett shouldn't get married, especially considering Everett was obviously willing to dump Meredith for her sister within five seconds of her arrival. And on the other hand, as soon as alcohol entered the picture, Meredith seem was more willing than to cozy up to Everett's brother Ben (Luke Wilson). And as if all of this wasn't enough already, the film proceeds to tack on the cancer card to try and extract any minute little emotional connection that viewers could possible feel for Sybil and her horrible family. Despite having a personal experience that almost mirrors that of Sybil's, finding out she was sick right before the holiday and wanting to wait until it was over to tell people, giving the mother of the family cancer does not justify her crappy behavior one iota. In this instance, it almost feels like a cheap way for filmmakers to tug at its audience's heart strings, which for us, weren't there even for a second.

This film made us angry to watch. The family treats Sarah Jessica Parker's character so badly that it made us feel guilty for laughing every time someone has ever made a "Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a horse and/or foot" joke. The spirit of Christmas barely comes through at the very end of the film and is mostly there to serve as a backdrop for this family's awfulness. The Stone's are a bunch of smug, artificial pricks who leftly preach acceptance for their deaf, gay son and his African American boyfriend, as well as their other slovenly loser son who is an adult stoner and yet turn their noses up for no reason whatsoever at their "perfect" son's potential wife. By the time the next Christmas rolls around, everything is hunky-dory, and all of the problems the family seemed to have with Meredith while she was with Everett have evaporated now that **********SPOILER********** she's with Ben. "The Family Stone" makes for a miserable viewing experience with such secondhand embarrassment throughout that, if this ever happened to anyone in real life, we're so so so sorry you had to go through this. We wouldn't wish this type of treatment on our worst enemy...well, maybe only for one person, but we know it didn't go down this way. We're going straight to hell. We can't imagine why anyone likes this movie, let alone wants to watch it during the merriest time of the year.

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 51%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "Elf"

No comments:

Post a Comment