It Runs in the Family Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 1, 2009
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."
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2008
Not really very original and pretty dull in parts.
Super Reviewer
December 10, 2007
Simply beautiful!
February 2, 2007
I have to admit that even if the script wasn't as good as it is, I'd still like watching so many of the Douglas clan. This was fun regardless, though.
December 2, 2009
This is certainly a disappointment, considering the cast and talent involved. It's not without some good moments. It's a rather bizarre film, talk about a dysfunctional family!
½ January 24, 2008
Three generations of Douglas family in a down to earth, no frills movie. Toss in some real family emotions for an enjoyable movie.
½ June 29, 2015
Nice to see Kirk Douglas again but did I have to sit through this bomb to do it.
½ July 12, 2014
It was not a good film. Hard to watch. Awkward and stiff
½ September 10, 2012
Not great, but not awful. Just okay-- the plot has been done before and was not particularly interesting or riveting.
January 24, 2012
The Douglas family reunion just didn't work on screen.
September 25, 2012
Not impressed with this unlikeable family. It just goes nowhere. And ir is a little self indulgent.
May 8, 2012
Even though Michael and Kirk Douglas have great chemistry in the movie as father and son (they are actually father and son in real life and marks their first and only time they appeared together in a movie) along with Michael's son Cameron and daughter Diana, and has interesting character relationships between one another, It Runs in the Family does actually end up going nowhere with a weak script and horrible pacing, making it a very, very dull movie.
March 30, 2011
In retrospect, this ten year old film is really about the Douglas family who commissioned a vanity script loosely based on their own real-life troubles, and it's an awkward, self-deprecating, unfunny mess.

Some aspects of this compromised script clearly scream,"Vanity project!"-- the characters were written to be like the actors who play them. Real fathers and sons. Real chemical dependency, and real marital infidelity. Horrifyingly, Cameron Douglas had an arrest record for drug use before his portraying the chemically dependent son in this film, and is now in prison for meth possession. Oddly, the film appears to get weighed down with disease, bodily functions, disability and chemical dependency, not exactly breeding grounds for big laughs. Viewers squirm at the awkward mix, and wonder if this is a comedy at all.

This film was not immune to the common foibles of the typical vanity project. For example, often the actors who commission a script want to play characters much younger than they are. That makes for some logic problems. It's preposterous that a 55 year old Bernadette Peters would be the mother of anything 10 years old. And the notion that Michael Douglas at 59 would try to play the father of a 10 year old is laughably delusional. Clearly Michael Douglas had a hand in shaping the script, agreed to the role, and thought he could play 50. When 10 year old Eli comes up to Bernadette Peters and says "Mom" instead of "Grandma" it's so absurd it's like bad community theatre casting-- Peters is old enough to be his grandmother. And Kirk Douglas his great grandfather.

Kirk Douglas is indecipherable in many of his lines because of his stroke, God bless him. But in his effort to annunciate clearly, he ends up overacting, and most of his lines are shown using wide shots to help frame his stiff-handed grandiose gestures. Subtlety is out the window here, and clearly the director struggled with managing his clarity of diction.

To add insult to injury, the script piles on another disabled character to the mix, a friend of Kirk Douglas's character who is an amputee with dementia, no less. The legless, flatulent, mumbling character appears to have been added to offset Kirk Douglas's own intense disability and make Kirk look comparatively better, and to still retain the fart jokes without embarrassing him. Otherwise, no sane script writer would ever include such a character. Also, the grandmother is on kidney dialysis and the kid is suffering from adolescent angst. Oh boy.

Similar to the adding of the demented character, the script creates a son younger than the real life Cameron, presumably to offset the focus on Cameron's real life drug use.

Eventually the screen is filled with seven characters, each with a problem. Add to that a continual flow of arguments, and you have an unwatchable psychobiography.

There are so many things out of balance with this film, and in retrospect, it's a great study of vanity screenwriting, and what happens when celebrities have money to burn, and a direct line to the screenwriter-- it's a recipe for disaster.
March 22, 2006
February 6, 2011
I really liked this film, and if you don't ask too much from it, you might like it, too. It's nice to see an affluent NY family, not written from Woody Allens POV that run into their personal chaos, and real-life situations, with some twists and surprises, (come on, Lake house Viking funeral, you were expecting that? Really?) reveal some personal reflection and growth, at the end. It wasn't perfect, no, but it presented a story of a family's life, with an array of situations that we can find, at least one, or more, that we can relate to. Plus, you can watch it with someone under twelve, and have a conversation about it. The unflinching look at how a person communicates and strives, post-stroke, is enough to give this film merit. Everything is not cinema; this is a family movie. Nothing has to blow-up. You can sit back and enjoy a NY lifestyle that most of us rarely see, and also see that it isn't perfect.
½ November 1, 2010
Good movie. Powerful Douglas family cast.
October 10, 2007
[b]It Runs in the Family[/b] was pretty lame to have so much talent attached to it. All the Douglas' and a Culkin, I mean, come on. A dysfunctional family has to learn to get along. You've seen it all before and done better.

[b]Rabid[/b] is just further proof that David Cronenberg ("Eastern Promises") is a genius. This is of his early still mostly horror days, but it's moody and creepy. There are zombie-like vampires and a piercing nipple. Some parts are very disgusting. Some parts are funny. But it does contain one of his running themes, how technology can turn man into a monster. Very interesting.
May 5, 2006
[font=Georgia][size=1]Usually, I write something about the movies. Not today. Fuck that. I don't feel like it. I owe you people nothing!

I lost my internet connection for a couple days, and have a hard time writing something about a flick unless it's directly after I've seen it. So, I'm just lumping the movies I caught in the past 3 days.[/size][/font]
½ July 31, 2005
This is certainly a disappointment, considering the cast and talent involved. It's not without some good moments. It's a rather bizarre film, talk about a dysfunctional family!
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