Mixed feelings on this one. The characters are well drawn and there is nice jet black humour in the dialogue and across several awkward moments. However, practically no one in this film is sympathetic, most are frankly horrible. It left me a little cold in first viewing.
A good study into family dysfunction mostly as a result of the closeness family members have with each other meaning that they say what they think and cannot hold back their personality disorders. Yet family is family isn't it. Quite a different role for Jack Black but he does it well.
Promising characters and complex relationships that constantly leaves the viewer yearning for clarification. Yes the characters are dysfunctional people, but there is a sense that nobody involved really understood what was going on. The film meanders without any sense of flow. The dynamics of the narrative are often so understated that they fail to bring any more than a slight giggle, or more often than not, cringe.
Middle-class Americans, forgetting they are adults, behaving madly in front of their children. Virginia Wolf would fit right in. Ms Kidman and Mr Black hold our attention in a rural holiday house where everything is just too much. Exhausting. Loved JB's frantic pursued descent down the long wooden staircase to the beach. Pass the Valium.