The Kids are All Right (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Kids are All Right</strong> (2010)

(On DVD, January 2011) If you consider this film solely from its pedigree sheet, you may expect something significant: Film-festival’s favourite, lauded by reviewers, nominated for a truck-load of awards, performances by Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo —The Kids are All Right has to be something special, right?  And if you just look at the surface, the film’s two major tweaks on the usual family-drama template may be interesting: As the two kids of a lesbian couple come of age, they reconnect with their biological father, causing the father and one of their moms to have an affair.  Cue the applause for a frank portrayal of what modern families can be.  But beyond that departure from the usual family drama formula, what’s left?  Not much.  So little, in fact, that once you get the “unconventional family” premise, the film struggles to justifies its existence: The dialogue feels familiar, the plotting is a well-worn formula, the characters are all annoying in their own way, and the laughs in this “comedy” are both rare and slight.  By the time the film remembers that it has a serious adultery subplot, the film concludes at a speed it couldn’t bother to reach at any time before that.  The sex scenes don’t rescue the film, and neither do the actors involved.  There’s a self-defeating quality in how The Kids Are All Right manages to make its unusual family seem as boring as any traditional nuclear family elsewhere in America.  Is the film all right?  Sure it is.  But not much more.

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