Julie: He said that he loved me.
Helen: Men say that. They all say that. Then they cum.
"It could happen to you."
There's so much great stuff going on in Ron Howard's Parenthood. The movie is a hilarious take on the serious issues that come from the responsibility. It is kind of like the saying, "If you don't laugh, you'll cry." That's how it is with these characters and sometimes they do laugh. Other times they can't and they cry.
There is no true plot in Parenthood, but just different parents from the same family dealing with the daily hassles of parenthood. Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen play one of these sets of parents. They have three kids and are especially having trouble with one who has to go into special ed classes. Another set of parents are played by Rick Moranis and Ivyann Schwan. They have one daughter and the father is overly into getting her to be as smart as possible. She is 4 years old and he already has her learning foreign languages and memorizing the periodic table. Then there's a single mom played by Diane Wiest, who I normally don't like, but was surprisingly funny here; who has a daughter who just got married and a young son who is separating emotionally from her as a result of his dad leaving. Last, but not least there's the older father, played by Jason Robards. He has a son who is constantly getting in trouble with bookies and he has to decide how to handle it. He also has to atone for being a lousy father to his now adult kids.
The cast is crazy good in this movie. So many big names and they are all great. The performance I enjoyed the most was from a preteen Joaquin Phoenix, credited as Leaf Phoenix. He plays Garry, a kid who is emotionally distant from his mother and enraged at his father for leaving him and not caring about him. Phoenix shows the power that he would go on to display for years at such a young age in a scene where he decides he wants to live with his father for awhile. When he makes the call and is disappointed by the answer, Phoenix gives an emotional and powerful side to a character that for the first part of the movie just said Bye and left the room.
The movie is oddly touching because it is so hilarious. A few times I had to stop the movie because I was laughing so hard. A lot of the humor comes from just how true the subject matter is. Ron Howard does a great job adding humor to some of the situations. I was very surprised by just how good this movie was. I expected just another Steve Martin vehicle, but this was much, much more then that.
Tod: You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.