Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell, Lucian Maisel
Frank: This is where you live?
Rosie: No, this is an elevator.
Frank: Verrrrrry good.
After all of his kids cancel on plans to visit him, Frank (De Niro), a widower, goes on a cross country trip to visit them instead. As he visits each one, it becomes apparent that maybe things aren’t as great with his kids as his wife always led him to believe.
This is pretty much your typical Hollywood weepy family story, though it maybe isn’t quite as feel-good as those movies usually are. It’s not a total downer, but it has a depressing feel throughout. The viewer realizes pretty quickly that things aren’t exactly what they seem with Frank’s kids, but he doesn’t catch on as quickly, so it’s a little sad to watch. I guess that’s the point, but it’s not exactly enjoyable.
The kids are Amy (Beckinsale), an ad executive, Robert (Rockwell), a musician, and Rosie (Barrymore), a supposed Las Vegas performer. They’ve all got things they’re hiding from dear old dad, including the whereabouts of the 4th child, David. He’s in more trouble than anybody, with his last known location being somewhere in Mexico.
It’s easy to see where the story is going right from the start (even the health scare they throw in), so it’s the performances that need to carry the movie. De Niro is alright, but doesn’t really bring anything special to the table. I’ve never found him to be a particularly versatile actor, and his tearful moments here are not exactly convincing. Drew Barrymore is exactly who she always is, while Rockwell and Beckinsale probably have the most interesting performances. Actually, Rockwell is easily the best actor in the movie. It’s good to see him get a role like this rather than an Affleck or…well, as long as it’s not Affleck, I’m alright with it.
I don’t want to say this is a bad movie, really, it’s just nothing all that new or interesting. It’s put together competently, but in the end it just feels empty.
Don’t push your kids too hard, or you might push them away…and they might die.
10 – 3 for not having an interesting take on its typical, weepy, predictable story – .2 for a few moments of not so great acting = 6.8