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It Runs in the Family (2003)



Average Rating: 4.5/10
Reviews Counted: 97
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 70

Despite its gimmick casting, the movie ultimately goes nowhere.


Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 20

Despite its gimmick casting, the movie ultimately goes nowhere.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 5,759

My Rating

Movie Info

A family takes on the difficult task of learning how to get along with one another in this emotional comedy drama. Alex Gromberg (Michael Douglas) is a middle-aged man who feels caught in the middle of his familial obligations as he muddles he way through a midlife crisis. While a successful businessman, Alex sometimes still feels as if he's under the shadow of his father, Mitchell Gromberg (Kirk Douglas), a successful attorney whose skills in the courtroom outstripped his gifts as a parent.


Drama, Comedy

Jesse Wigutow

Oct 21, 2003


MGM/UA - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (110) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (70) | DVD (10)

A funny, articulate, imperfect, sometimes messy, often infuriatingly sentimental, but always caring and spirited movie.

May 1, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Goes easy on the schmaltz, and the catastrophes have the puncturing feel of real life.

April 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A lot of things, we see coming about three scenes in advance ... But, the three generations of Douglas' in particular, that's why I'm recommending this film.

April 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Worthwhile, though the story is predictable.

April 25, 2003 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Acting together for the first time, Kirk and Michael Douglas have some powerful scenes together, which only makes you wish the entire project had tilted more towards Eugene O'Neill than Neil Simon.

April 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A pretty unpalatable blend of syrup and formaldehyde-basted turkey.

April 25, 2003
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Disappointing story of a dysfunctional family.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Even though it flaunts its wealth, It Runs in the Family is a worthy tribute to all things Douglas.

July 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Like those family albums you take out of the drawer every so often...a collection of fairly bland scenes that mean a lot more to the people in the picture than anyone else.

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

For what passes as a story, it's bickering and sniping, followed by outright hostility.

October 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

'Tiene el grave defecto de un guión mal estructurado, que desaprovecha el talento de los protagonistas con diálogos poco creíbles y algunas situaciones forzadas'

October 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Moviola

It seems as though the Douglas' were desperate to work together so they didn't bother going out to find a quality film.

July 15, 2003 Full Review

. . . few audience members will find something in the mélange of clichéd and clever ideas that doesn't personally resonate at some level. It Runs In the Family knows the words, but not the music. . .

May 30, 2003 Full Review Source:

To show up to the set everyday must have been a chore in itself, but to actually read some of these lines and play some of these scenes with the little-to-no direction they seem to have received is a sign of true dedication.

May 27, 2003 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

Endearing moments battle with forced melodrama to produce a muddled family portrait both tiresome and tender.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Doesn't even rise to the level of a daytime soap opera.

May 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

By the end of the film we also expect some closure; satisfaction in knowing that the Gromberg family is going to be okay. This conclusion never comes and we are left wondering whether the family will indeed persevere.

May 3, 2003
Billings Outpost (Montana)

There are enough genuine moments amidst its TV movie trappings.

May 1, 2003 Full Review

One might rightly ask what runs in this family; based on the evidence here, it's nepotism. This is not a horrible film, but it's remarkably unexciting and formulaic.

April 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The Douglas clan's answer to the Fondas' On Golden Pond might easily have been called On Golden Turkey.

April 30, 2003
Creative Loafing

They must have made an intimidating pair because all during production no one had the courage to tell them that It Runs in the Family stinks.

April 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Five years from now this will be remembered as the most expensive home movie ever made by a family. The DVD will look great on the Douglas family shelf - but God knows it won't be on anybody else's.

April 28, 2003 Full Review Source:

What makes the movie interesting is mainly its gimmick.

April 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Audience Reviews for It Runs in the Family

Cast: Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Bernadette Peters, Rory Culkin, Cameron Douglas, Diana Darrid Douglas, Michelle Monaghan, Geoffrey Arend, Sarita Choudhury, Irene Gorovaia, Audra McDonald, Annie Golden, Josh Pais

Director: Fred Schepisi

Summary: The Gromberg family is one of the most powerful families in New York City -- but hidden beneath a veneer of perfection is a wealth of dysfunction. Three generations of Douglas thespians star in this touching drama about the ties that bind.

My Thoughts: "Although it was nice to see three generations on the screen thogether, the film wasn't that great. It had some funny moments here and there but not the comedy I thought it was going to be. It was more of a drama. A lot of father and son issues going on in this film that I am sure some will be able to relate to. The acting was good and it's unfortunate Cameron Douglas is in the position he is cause I think he could have easily followed in his grandfather and father's footsteps in the film industry. I thought he did good in the movie. I liked his character, he was fun. Perhaps the film is more fact then fiction. Either way it wasn't great but I enjoyed it."
March 11, 2012

Super Reviewer

Not really very original and pretty dull in parts.
October 25, 2008

Super Reviewer

Simply beautiful!
December 10, 2007
Leo L

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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