The Family Stone

 
Directed by: Thomas Bezucha
Written by:Thomas Bezucha
Starring: Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Tyrone Giordano, Paul Schneider
Released: January 1, 2006
Grade: B

The Family Stone is one of those Christmas movies where the family comes together, argues, then resolve their differences in the spirit of the occasion.  I’m oversimplifying but that’s what you should expect.  This overall premise has been used many times before.

Everett (Mulroney) is bringing his new girlfriend, Meredith (Parker), home for Christmas to meet the family for the first time.  They don’t like her prickly, uptight personality and they not-so-subtlety express their ill feelings to her.

There’s one reason you need to see this film and it’s for the wonderful performance of Sarah Jessica Parker.  Her character is ten times more interesting than any of the others.  Struggling to overcome her insecurities, her personality is never the same.  She wants to be the centre of attention but doesn’t feel comfortable when she is.  Some of her politically incorrect comments will leave you cringing.

A few tears might be shed but for the most part, the melodramatic ending has been designed to please audiences.  Call me a sceptic but it felt cheesy and hard to believe.  Without giving too much away, I particularly didn’t like how simply Everett’s relationship dilemma panned out. 

The film boasts a big cast who stumble in and out of the story with their own issues.  They include young stars Rachel McAdams and Claire Danes and the experienced Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson.  Nelson is good but underutilised.

After a strong opening, the spark fizzled on The Family Stone.  Instead of fuzzy, feel-good Christmas cheer, I walked out with a Boxing Day hangover.