Noam Murro Written by: Mark Poirier Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page, Ashton HolmesChristine Lahti, Camille Mana, David Denman Distributed by Icon Film is released on May 16th 2008 in the U.K. Review by Michael Edwards
rating: 2I have a horrible feeling this will be one of those films that people see as a loveable piece of family drama/comedy which is branded such inaccurate adjectives as "insightful", "heartwarming", "witty" and "real". Sadly, it really isn't any of these things. In fact, alarm bells should be set ringing by the cast which on the surface contains a bunch of reasonably well-known and trusted household names but actually contains a recipe for disaster. Firstly, can anyone tell me the last good film Dennis Quaid was in? Anyone? It was WYATT EARP in 1994. That's 14 years and 23 films ago for Mr Quaid - not a good record. Plus he was in DRAGONHEART which was rubbish, screw forgiveness. Sarah Jessica Parker will never escape her role from SEX AND THE CITY and Ellen Page, whilst undenibly a great actress, is beginning to smack of pretentious indie (but actually on a reasonable sized Hollywood budget) cool and thus wear a bit thin. The whole movie feels like a horribly contrived attempt to jump on this new Hollywood sort-of-low-budget indie film wagon which is regrettably spawning some real crap now. The premise of the film is that pompous professor/lonely widower Lawrence Wetherhold is the head of a household containing just himself and his precocious and stuck-up daughter Vanessa who lacks the necessary social skills to be a normal teenager. His son James has already abandoned ship and headed off to university to write poetry because he's so misunderstood. But wait, hope is on the horizon. After the silly professor falls from a fence and gets concussion he can no longer drive, cue the entry of the wacky back sheep of the family Lawrence's step brother Chuck. Not only that, in hospital Lawrence meets (sort of) sexy doctor and former pupil of his Janet Hartigan. The predictable steady progress towards realising that having friends, being in love and being nice are as important as grades, respect and success ensues. The film isn't totally irredeemable, for all my angry insults the actors do put in decent performances despite the dry and uninspired script. And there are a few witty moments besides those crammed into to trailer to suck you in. There's just far too much pointless rambling, too many overreactions and far far too many predictable character arcs. We all know exactly where this movie is going from the minute we clap eyes on each character, and the journey then seems an arduous and unnecessary trudge to the finish line with the paltry treats on offer to keep you going. So I say, ignore those who talk of easy viewing and praise this film for its unrelenting mediocrity. Spend your money on something fun or clever. Try IRON MAN or PERSEPOLIS respectively.