Thursday, July 06, 2006

Family Gatherings

A Movie Review

The Dredge family reunion is this weekend and I will be unable to attend, however I do have Eulogy to act as my substitute. Acutely compared with the Collins clan from this 2004 film, my extended family seems relatively normal, no lesbians or drug addicts there that I know of. Eulogy concerns the gathering together of a large and disfunctional family for the funeral of there patriarch Edmund (Rip Torn, seen as a corpse, in flashbacks, and in a video will). There are other movies built around this same sort of concept, and it seems that the creative powers that be thought that if they brought enough quirky characters together the thing would write its self. It is a fair picture for the first hour and then comes together in a satisfying (and of course quirky) way at the end, when Edmund's big secret is reveled.

Eulogy does have the virtue of containing one of the greatest casts of second teer celebrities ever assembled in one film. The anchoring character is Kate Collins, played by the lovely Zooey Deschanel, she is also one of the sanest figures in the movie. Jesse Bradford (who had an enjoyable extended guest shot on the 5th season of West Wing) plays Ryan Carmichael, Kate's childhood best friend and potential love interest. Hank Azaria is Kate's father Daniel, he is perhaps the most normal of the Edmunds progeny, a one time childhood spoaksperson for a peanut butter company now reduced to playing the non-sexual roles in porn movies. The great Piper Laurie is the suicidal widow Charlotte, Debra Winger her controlling oldest daughter, and Kelly Preston her youngest. Ray Romano plays the other son, Skip who is a barely competent lawyer raising twin delinquent boys Fred and Ted (Curtis and Keith Garcia). Also featured are Glenne Headly, Famke Janssen, Rance Howard, and Rene Auberjonois as the family parson who doesn't seem to really know anything about the family. This movie rates probably about 2 1/2 stars and is one you see primarily for the cast, be warned however this family comedy is hardly appropriate family viewing.


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