Clint’s Review : The Family Stone

The new dramedy starring Diane Keaton and Claire Danes


Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, Dermot Mulroney, Rachel McAdams, Craig T Nelson, Tyrone Giordano, Brian J White

Whack on the Windows Movie Maker, put in a couple of my own family Christmas videos, and make clips of all the most eventful bits. You’d get something pretty close to “The Family Stone”. Eventful, sure, but does that mean you shouldn’t have spared a couple more moments where we’re merely getting to know everyone that’s sitting around the tree just that little bit better?

That’s the main problem with writer/director’s Thomas Bezucha’s dramedy. We just don’t get to know the characters well enough to really connect to them. It tries earnestly to push your buttons – ‘laugh now’, ‘cry now’, ‘aww now’ – but many just won’t ‘feel it’.

Still, that doesn’t mean this all-star festive offering isn’t entertaining – it most certainly is. All the ingredients that make up for a perfect Christmas comedy are here – slip-ups, mismatched couples, squabbles, food fights, tantrums, crushes, embarrassing moments, revelations. In fact, the only thing missing seems to be Chevy Chase. Crazy families at Yuletide are always easy to watch, the Stone’s are no exception.

In a nutshell: One of the son’s (Dermot Mulroney) is bringing his new girlfriend – who he plans to pop the question too over the course of the holiday – home to meet the family for Christmas. Unfortunately, she (Sarah Jessica Parker), a snooty Manhattan-ite in a designer suit, doesn’t mesh well with the bohemian clan – led by Mum and Dad Diane Keaton and Craig T.Nelson – and Christmas starts to look rather grim. [Full Review]