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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > The Family Stone (Widescreen)

The Family Stone (Widescreen)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Film: C-



The family reunion melodrama is one of the oldest formulas in the book and even when it is updated slightly as it is with Thomas Bezucha’s The Family Stone (2005) by casting some good actors, throwing in a gay couple and one too many coincidences, and you get a film trying to give us that warm feeling that can only fell warmed over.


Diane Keaton is the mother of the family coming home for Christmas (because I guess other holidays are just not worth traveling for that much?) who has a “dark secret” to share and wants things to be right just this once.  They are not totally dysfunctional, but just enough to qualify this as a comedy.  Too bad the laughs are more miss than hit.  Also, seeing it a second time, it does not hold up well in repeat viewings in ways the warmth cannot offset via its seemingly endless textbooks flaws.  The casting of Sarah Jessica Parker as the engagee/bitch, Craig T. Nelson as the befuddled dad and Luke Wilson as the oaf further undercut the whole affair further.  This is a long-term disappointment.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is on the harsh side, from the digital titles to an off-kilter look throughout this transfer.  It was not much better in 35mm, but cinematographer Jonathan Brown’s looked a little better than this.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a little better, showing enough fidelity to reveal it is a recent recording, but not much beyond that.  Extras include six deleted scenes on par with the film, two audio commentaries, text recipe, a gag reel, Q&A session at The Actor’s Studio and two featurettes.  That is a bunch of extras for a film that does not work well, but shows the people who made it at least believed in it.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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