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|aka: Family Jewels
dir-scr Chris D'Arienzo
prd Mickey Barold, Stone Douglass, Eric Kopeloff, Matt Weaver
with Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Jean Smart, Cybill Shepherd, Malcolm McDowell, Missi Pyle, Colin Hanks, Mae Whitman, Emily Procter, Christopher McDonald, Billy Dee Williams
release US 1.Oct.10,
UK 25.Apr.11 dvd
Having my baby: Greer and Wilson
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
Patrick Wilson enjoyably plays against type in this story of a nice-guy loser whose life is overturned by some unexpected news. With a witty script and some very funny situations, it's a notable debut for filmmaker D'Arienzo
Barry (Wilson) is a womanising architect who considers himself to be the "coolest dude in the world" until an angry man, ahem, removes his ability to have children. While still recovering from this, he finds out that he's being sued by Ginger (Greer), who claims that he's the father of her unborn child. But mixed emotions are far too complicated for such a dumb guy; he just tries to do the right thing. But it gets even more confusing when he meets Ginger's slutty sister Jennifer (Sevigny) and her bizarre parents (Shepherd and McDowell).
Writer-director D'Arienzo loads the plot with so much irony that it almost sinks (ladies man who loses his manhood, man-child who discovers he's having a child), but the dry and very witty script manages to keep it afloat. Barry is almost cartoonishly thoughtless, but we can see that he's trying to be a better man. And the constant awkwardness in his conversations with everyone else is simply hilarious.
Wilson has a great time in the role of a leering, rather too good-looking horndog who never really knows what's happening around him. But what makes the character memorable is the way Wilson grabs our sympathy so effectively. Meanwhile, Greer is hysterically bitter and rude but still fully engaging. And the supporting cast is simply fantastic, although there might be a bit too much scene-stealing going on for one movie.
In the end, the film has a sweetness to it that catches us by surprise. The tentative relationship between Barry and Ginger is funny and cute, and even the frequent scenes of embarrassment or gross-out vulgarity manage to have some warmth to them. But most unexpected is that the film actually makes us think about issues of identity and belonging - from the secrets we hold from the people we love to the legacy we hope to leave for the future.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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