Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I want this family's gene pool...

I used my tag line facetiously because in this type of dramody (comedy/drama combo) the cast is always so good looking. The set up here is that Robert DeNiro finally plays old (think Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt) in the form of Frank Goode who sets out on a trip to visit each of his four adult children. This is spurred by a funny and yet sad beginning where they all cancel on a planned trip to which he has devoted quite a bit of preparation. Like so many movie travelers before him, he learns valuable lessons and hidden truths (read that with as much sincerity or sarcasm as you like).

I generally would recommend this movie if only because DiNero does such a good job playing the man of a bygone era. The sort who worked hard to provide financially but was disconnected from the emotional life of the family. His wife is dead and he is a bit adrift when he begins to suspect his children are never really comfortable opening up to him. Some specific details that are well done- he has the oldest answering machine imaginable, no cell phone, and assails strangers with pictures of his children. Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore play the three children we do meet in vignette like scenes that are in my opinion too short. Although there are some funny moments there is sadness running through the movie because Frank's children are keeping a secret involving the unknown fate of the fourth who struggles with a hinted at drug problem. In the end the family is brought together and the DVD box describes this as "heart warming". I never really got there. Something was missing and "it" was made apparent by it's absence. Before I forget, Kate Beckinsale did a good enough job in this movie to be forgiven for the recent train wreck called White Out.