Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Non-Review: Everybody's Fine

It is so refreshing to see a movie that has a completely original screenplay. So often in Hollywood, everything is either a remake or the exact same plot as another 20 movies. In the case of Everybody's Fine, we're watching something so different and innovative that's it's a rare delight. Because if there's one thing I'm tired of it's remakes.

A remake of Giuseppe Tornatore's "Stanno Tutti Beni" Everybody's Fine tells the story of Frank (Robert De Niro) a widower with health issues who takes a journey to visit his children with the hope of mending fences. Some of the people he'll meet along the way in his Tenenbaum-ish quest to reenact The Gathering, include son Robert (Sam Rockwell) Daughters Amy (Kate Beckinsale) and Rosie (Drew Barrymore) and the usual cast of miscellaneous characters one expects to meet while completing their Bucket List. Rated PG-13 For the horror of having to look at Drew Barrymore's ever concaving features.

I never saw the original, so really, I carried no bias into this review. I've never been a hardcore De Niro fan, but in the right roles enjoy his work. In this film De Niro flexes a little acting muscle we haven't seen in awhile. Oddly enough I found myself being reminded of his performance in "Awakenings" more than anything else. The film does a more than perfunctory job of showcasing how antiquated Frank has become, not just to his children but in his own life as well. It works well towards making the character very sympathetic.

To help with that sympathy we have his children. Each of whom treat his visit like an intrusion upon their lives. The characters of Robert, Amy and Rosie have no place for their father in their lives and look upon his visiting as an intrusion. Eventually secrets roll out (as you knew they'd have to in a movie like this. Don't even try denying it you saucy one) and De Niro has 'oh I get it' moments.

What I Hated:
Despite moments that are quite wonderful sweet beautiful ok, it dips into story telling the big well of movie clich├Ęs a little too often.
Sam Rockwell is painfully under utilized and not given much to work with.

What I Liked:
De Niro acting again.
Ambrose the talking duck was hilarious and rightfully deserves a movie all to himself.
Dave. Clearly the best child and most enjoyable to watch.

Ultimately the film is pretty good for what it is and is probably better than anything else being released this week.

6 1/2 Quacks out of 10

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