"Everybody's Fine" Movie Review (2009)

12/03/2009 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

“Everybody’s Fine”

Written and directed by Kirk Jones, 95 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith


The gag-inducing melodrama “Everybody’s Fine” hails from Kirk Jones, whose phone calls, kisses, hand-shakes and hugs no longer will be returned the moment this baby hits theaters.

Okay, so maybe that isn’t true--it’s tough to crush a mother’s love--but what is true is that this movie is so lame, it should see a specialist.

The film is based on Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990 Italian movie, “Stanno tutti Bene,” which starred Marcello Mastroianni as a man coming to terms with his five estranged children. It was a good film, and one better left alone.

As for Jones, who writes and directs this moist remake, he swiftly crushes it with clichés and sentiment at every opportunity he gets. This wannabe windbag of weepiness is schlock for the holidays, a gross wallow through an emotional sink hole that smells a whole lot like a…well, we’ll stop there.

What’s curious about the film is that it’s being put up by Miramax for Academy Award consideration. So, here’s a toast to them for embracing their grand disillusionment! My voting screener arrived last week, with a bevy of hopefuls listed on the back of the packaging. Noted were Jones for directing and writing, Paul McCartney for his original song “(I Want To) Come Home,” and the film’s star, Robert De Niro, who is being positioned for the Best Actor category.

And here’s the thing about De Niro’s performance--he might have had a shot at a nomination if the script hadn’t sold him out so frequently. He’s quite good here, but he’s sandbagged by a movie that so wants to wring the hell out of your heart, it actually ends up turning your stomach.

To wit: In the film, De Niro is Frank Goode (of course, his last name is Goode), he’s battling lung cancer (of course, he’s battling lung cancer), he recently lost his wife (of course, he recently lost his wife), and he’s struck by disappointment when his four children stiff him for a visit (of course, they stiff him for a visit) even though he bought a few good steaks, watered the plants and spiffed up the joint for their arrival.

Not taking that snub lying down, Franks goes to his doctor, ignores the man pleas for Frank to “take it easy and stay home,” and instead boards a train that will carry him all over the country to visit those grown-up children who didn’t want to visit daddy.

Among them are an unremarkable bunch actively keeping secrets from Frank. They are the wildly successful Amy (Kate Beckinsale), the cagey musician Robert (Sam Rockwell), and pretty Rosie (Drew Barrymore), who lives in Vegas as a “dancer.” And then there’s David. We’ll leave David for you. As for the others, the most believable moments are shared between De Niro and Barrymore, who connect onscreen in ways that have meaning in spite of the meaningless material. Go figure. Beckinsale is icy, as usual, and as for Rockwell, let’s just say his character won’t win any fans.

“Everybody’s Fine” literally is a film about connections, with Jones so determined to make them, he offers this cheek-biting metaphor: Throughout his adult life, Frank’s job was to make the thousands of miles of wires that are strung along telephone poles across the country. The movie follows those wires from Amy to Robert to Rosie, and by the end of it all, when the final hilarious reveal hits in the form of a painting, nobody should be surprised that those wires have gathered together to do the right thing--form one mother of a noose.

Grade: D+

View the trailer for "Everybody's Fine" below. Thoughts?


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7 comments:

  1. Yesica said...

    i haven't seen the original, but I'm kinda looking forward to this movie. It looks cute to see and I'm a sucker for christmas movies XD .

  2. helobuff said...

    I dont recall ever hearing about this movie, I have to get it now!!! Looks great! Thanks.

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  4. Anonymous said...

    You must be gay if you think the delightful Ms. Beckinsale is "icy as usual".

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