Monday, December 01, 2008

Family Flops
I find films about 'eccentric' families hard going, especially American ones. (Not counting 'The Addams Family', currently satirised in the best-yet Orange ad.) I don’t just mean 'Meet the Fockers’ which I once saw by mistake in Barcelona, because the Spanish title was nothing like that I’m one of the few people I know who didn’t like Sam Mendes’ 'American Beauty' because of the 'quirky family' theme. Last Friday, though, I thought an antidote to John Boorman's harrowing 'Deliverance' on TV was in order. 'Four Christmases' was about the only light comedy at Cineworld that we hadn't seen.

One advantage of paying £14.99 a month for as many films as you can watch, apart from saving on heating costs, is you don't mind the odd 'turkey'. That's just as well.

‘FC’ had Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a loved-up couple fog-bound in their home town of San Francisco at Christmas. An airport TV interview blows their cover so they have to visit all four sets of their divorced parents. In a way the constant shifts are good because each set of in-laws is more unfunny than the one before. Some of the scenes were amusing, such as the one where the couple are forced into playing Mary and Joseph in a nativity play at a revivalist church and the husband lets his luvvie instincts take over. Otherwise it is so bad it makes you long for a nice slow French film where the families may be dysfunctional but at least the house décor is tasteful and there's a bit of obscure philosophising.Come back, then, 'I’ve Loved you so Long', even with unnaturally genial (and silent) grandfather and false-bonhomie dinner table scene. All is forgiven.

Come to think of it, 'Summer Hours' wasn't bad.

The Addams Family:

Deliverance :

Summer Hours:

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