Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Review: Everybody's Fine
I realize that this review is a few weeks late, but so be it. I've been busy. I actually saw this movie almost two weeks ago now. The movie is about Frank Goode (Robert De Niro), and his attempt to go see all four of his children, since they all canceled on their promise to come visit him after his wife died. Now, the kids were all closer to their mother, as Frank was always one of those fathers that you just didn't tell negative news to. You could never live up to his expectations. Well, Frank goes by train to see his kids, against his doctor's orders due to his heart condition. His first visit is the son he was always worried about, who is an artist, but he's not at home. Whilst visiting the other kids (Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale), he notices that things are not as fine with his kids as he was led to believe, and that especially goes for the son that wasn't home. The other kids are hiding what is going on with him from Frank.
Now from that bad plot synopsis, the movie may sound shmaltzy, dull, and overdone. I'm sure quite a few people will say it is, actually. I, on the other hand, see this movie as a melodrama. We're supposed to get so worked up by the end of the movie that the tears start flowing. (It actually almost happened to me!) A lot of people don't like soundtracks and very obvious plot points pushing their emotion buttons. I, on the other hand, don't care, because that's what melodramas are supposed to do, and that's how they do it. It's how they've ALWAYS done it. Of course, it didn't help that the trailers made people think this was some sort of comedy...
De Niro may have been a bit miscast here, but you need a big star to get anything greenlit these days. I was fine with the choice, but I guess Alan Arkin could have done just as well. I don't think we needed the medium-grade stars we got for the grown-up kids either. It made them feel underused; especially Sam Rockwell, who's such a versatile actor, and always so underused.
I wish this movie had done better. It was a good melodrama, yet the highest it got box office-wise was #10. People would rather see Old Dogs I guess. I'm also gonna blame the fact that this is based on a well-liked Italian movie that came out a full nineteen years ago. If it had been sooner, perhaps it would have done better. Who knows.
The film has been nominated for one Golden Globe. (Best Song, I Want To Come Home) I would say find this on DVD or Blu when it comes out. It's worth seeing at least once.
*** 1/2 out of ***** (3 1/2 out of 5)