Monday, July 24, 2006

The Family Stone

One of M. Night Shamalamadingdong's problems is marketing. Signs wasn't a movie about aliens. It is a movie about faith. The Village wasn't a horror movie. Lady in the Water isn't either by all accounts. People think his movies are about plot twists when in reality the plot twists are what happen when he's discussing deeper themes. The plot twists because he reveals something deeper beneath what you've been seeing all along.

But I digress.

Amy and I rented two films this weekend, The Family Stone and Ultraviolet. Ultraviolet is by Equilibrium director Kurt Wimmer and it shows. The action is good, but the plot doesn't work very well. It just moves from one action set-piece to the next. The only reason to see this movie is watching Milla Jovovich wear tight clothes and kick ass. Frankly that was a good enough reason for me.

The Family Stone isn't what it appears to be. Based on marketing, we thought it was a romantic comedy with an impressive cast. It turned out to have a great cast with little romantic comedy in sight. Amy was really annoyed. I wasn't annoyed. I was in the next room surfing the internet and blogging about fajitas, because I realized I hated the film within fifteen minutes.

How did I know? Well the members of the Stone family were all stereotypes. Largely liberal stereotypes. There was the pothead slacker son, the gay son (complete with his african-american "husband"), the overachieving oldest son, the poor hippie daughter, the pregnant (married) daughter, the breast cancer survivor mom, and the college professor dad. Then there was Sarah Jessica Parker, the uptight successful businesswoman, girlfriend to the successful son. It was a film set in hollywood cliche-world where all real estate developers are bad and just want to tear down old historic neighborhoods for parking lots. A film where uptight conservative characters eventually "grow" into people who vote Democrat. And I wanted none of it.

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