A young man, his wife, and his incompetent case worker travel across country to find his birth parents. Starring Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore, Alan Alda, and Josh Brolin.
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I found it too silly and manic 10 years ago, but love it now. What changed? First, I started appreciating movies where the jokes are in the details. Second, I saw and loved Old Hollywood screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby and My Man Godfrey, and surely Russell wants to tap into their vibe. His great subject is the family unit, in all its chaotic glory—these are the people who love you, and you should take it.
Russell's most underrated movie. It's like a mix of Woody Allen meets Hal Ashby ( I think Russell is the Ashby of his generation). Every actor playing an adopted/real/presumed real parent was amazing in this. My only complaint...needed more Mary Tyler Moore...loved her character/performance.
Borderline classic? Unsure. It has that hyper focused dark comedy vibe that makes you want to laugh and cringe at the same time. I love how it examines this game of "Depression Olympics" that each of the characters plays into. Yes. Your feelings are justified-- but, not any more than the next person crippled by anxieties. Your relationships with the people around you should not be how you establish your identity.
The MUBI review of this piece uses the phrase "manic screwball" which is the most appropriate way to refer to this. Definitely more comedy than the dramatic pieces he has put forth in recent memory. There are so many great parts but the hysterical/neurosis of every character aside from Patricia Arquette's is where the real comic gold lies.
A lot of great moments. A lot of great acting. A lot of unlikable characters. The stakes never really feel high and you never really connect with any of the people in this film and as a result what is a technically excellent film is occasionally rendered unwatchable.
Hilarious work from all involved. iI's a little slight, but Russell and company nails the screwball tone and pacing, with "best in show" honors going to Mary Tyler Moore. This is an unjustly overlooked and highly entertaining film.
Actually, quite a fun and funny film! Caught me a bit off guard. While some parts are seem contrived or predictable (though perhaps only in light of tropes films like this have set), it generally succeed in being an absurd and farcical production to great effect. I certainly enjoyed it.