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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
I despise The Family Stone. I truly do. It is incredibly shallow and manipulative. Most of the characters are completely obnoxious and almost everyone acts or says something for no reason other to movie the story along. I get that that the central premise concerns itself with the outsider meeting her boyfriend’s wacky family and hijinks ensue. I get it. I really do. It is a solid formula to follow for a holiday film. However, everything in this movie just makes me incredibly angry as I watched it.
I guess part of venom I have for this movie has a lot to do with me being incredibly let down. When I first saw The Family Stone, I was kind of psyched to see it. I really liked the cast, and everyone seemed well-suited for their roles. I like Dian Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Rachel McAdams, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Even supporting role actors such as Claire Danes and Like Wilson are usually great to see on screen. And, I will give the film credit, the actors do have a fairly strong chemistry and all seem committed to their roles. I had no problems there.
The major problem, as I suggested above, is with the writing. These characters are just awful human beings, and you cannot sympathize with them even though the movie forces the idea that you should. In particular, we are shown that Keaton’s matriarchal Sybil needlessly forces an argument after Meredith (Parker) asks a somewhat ignorant, yet understandable question concerning nature versus nurture. It is obvious Meredith was not attempting to be insulting, and a rational mind would not have viciously attacked the way Sybil does. Then again, Meredith continues to press the issue even after the feeling of discomfort permeates the room. Why would she do this?!?!?!
Again, it is a case of the story leading the actors. It is just lazy writing when a movie does this. I know the filmmakers want to tell a specific story, but make the characters fit into that story. Do not develop a character, and then force them to act out-of-character to push the story along. Shouldn’t that be Screenwriting 101?
Finally, the thing that gets me the angriest about this movie is how manipulative it is to get the audience to care and make it feel deep and meaningful. And, they do it in the cheapest way possible: cancer. Hateful witch Sybil has breast cancer. She keeps it a secret until the end, because, you know, the film needed some way to resolve all the conflicts. It is utterly sickening. And, it does not stop there. Throughout the movie, Sybil and her bitch daughter Amy (McAdams, who perfected the unlikeable character) hate Meredith for no real legitimate reason. Good thing Meredith just happened to bring along a framed photo of when mother was pregnant with daughter as a gift.
So, what have we learned here, kids? Cancer and deus ex machina gifts will solve all of our problems.
Oh lord, how I hate this movie. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. Just writing this review has made my blood boil a little bit. It wants the audience to care, but does so in the lowest way possible. Eff this movie!