The description for this movie makes it sound rather amusing in a sad-sack way, but I just found it dismal. There is an impressive gathering of talent--Liev Shrieber, Helen Hunt and Brian Dennehy especially--but the subject matter was just too dark and depressing for my taste. I have watched many a sad movie and came away informed, inspired or emotionally impacted. This was not one of those movies. I didn't feel like I learned anything...I wasn't inspired and I really wasn't that emotionally impacted. None of the adults had many redeeming qualities and I found myself mostly feeling sorry for the kids.
Brian Dennehy plays the chronically depressed, mean-spirited, medically declining father of Helen Hunt's character, who is married to a TV writer played by Liev Schreiber. When Dad is no longer able to live alone, he is brought to live with his daughter and her family. I know from my close friends' experience that bringing a parent, especially one that needs care, into your home can create incredible stress on your relationship, which this movie portrays in spades. The problem is, the stress is relentless and there's little to lighten the mood. Sure, that may be the way it is in real life, but do most people really want to spend their evening watching a movie about it?
There is a lot made of the teenage son being gay and wanting to go to his school's gay prom. Shrieber's character's obvious discomfort with his son's sexuality gets old really fast, but at least that does change direction at one point and you get some sense that SOMETHING in this family's life is getting resolved.
THere are very few Special Features on the DVD--just interviews with the cast and deleted scenes. In the first interview, the director says this story is based on his life. I think the fact that this really happened (though I imagine there was some creative license with the storytelling) makes it even more depressing.
There is some bad language (mostly from Dennehy's character, who also discusses his bodily functions frequently and openly) and some sexual situations which involve Shrieber's pot-smoking colleague played by Carla Gugino. Eddie Izzard, who plays Shrieber and Gugino's boss also throws out a lot of sexual situations at pitch meetings.
I finished watching 10 minutes ago and I'm already wiping this movie from my memory banks.
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Liev Schreiber (Salt) heads an all-star cast in this warm and wise comic drama as Ned, a loving husband and devoted father dealing with life's curveballs. He's got a stressed-out wife (Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets) an independent teenage son (Ezra Miller, City Island), and an embittered father-in-law (Brian Dennehy, Silverado) who's turning his home upside down. Ned's job writing a scandalous TV series for a demanding boss (Eddie Izzard, Valkyrie) is unfulfilling, and late night rewrites with a sexy co-worker (Carla Gugino, Entourage) might just push him over the deep end. This modern family story by Nip/Tuck producer/writer Richard Levine is filled with heart, humor and life's unexpected twists that teach Ned that marriage and parenthood don’t always go according to the script.