21 February 2006 | asalem182
A Mixed Stone
The Family Stone was a mixed bag. It had great acting, laugh out loud scenes, and heart breaking moments, but in the meantime, I felt it didn't know what it wants to be, some of the characters were stereotypes we've seen a hundred times before, and I thought some of things happening were totally unbelievable.
The film tells the story of uptight businesswoman Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) who meets the parents of her boyfriend Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) for the first time during the Christmas celebrations. From the get go, The Stones don't like Meredith, so she calls her sister Julie (Claire Danes) to come back her up.
The picture didn't know whether it wants to be a slapstick comedy, or a heartfelt drama. One minute we see pratfalls, the next we wee people crying and talking about the freedom of sexual orientation. These fast mood swings really hurt the movie, as it was at its best when it kept the same tone for more than 10 minutes; I was laughing out loud at the Chritmas morning scenes, and I was really touched by the scene between Sybil (Diane Keaton) and Kelly (Craig. T Nelson) in the bed.
The movie had a lot of characters, but unfortunately, only half of these characters were interesting. The best character was Sybil, the loving and strong mother who keeps all the family together. I also liked Everett, the man who wasn't sure of the decision he's going to make. Anyway, there also some stereotypes like Meredith and Amy (Rachel McAdams), the annoying sister who was just there to hurt Meredith. I felt Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser) and her daughter Elizabeth (Savannah Stehlin) were in the picture just to add a cute little girl to the mix. And I think the film could have used more time to give us a better idea of some characters like Julie and Ben (Luke Wison). But it's always a good sign when you wish a film was longer; Frankly, I was entertained throughout the film.
The Family Stone had a great cast, with some actors giving their best performances in a long time, and I'm surprised no one from the cast was nominated for an Academy award. Diane Keaton was terrific as the mother, and her first and last scenes in the movie are truly heartbreaking. And although I'm not a fan of Parker, I thought she pulled of her role quite well. In fact, I think Danes is the only cast member who gave a so-so performance.
So, I'd recommend The Family Stone, but with a cast like this, I can't help but think this film could have been much better.