Edward Burns certainly doles out his fair share of family turmoil, but he admirably doesn't make lunatics out of his characters.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
A starchy, flavorless pudding.
| Original Score: 2/5
Resentments, pregnancies, cancer, spousal abuse and the struggle of a recovering alcoholic all come and go on cue.
| Original Score: 2/4
A blandly amiable thing, hardly resonant in spite of all the heartache that abounds.
Too much of the film is taken up by creaky plot devices and one sibling vowing to track down and talk to another one to resolve a problem.
The ensemble cast is mostly agreeable, but the script eventually bogs down amid too many characters and too many contrivances.
Burns gives a rare picture of another borough, showing the working-class environment he grew up in, and eulogizes: Queens, and even the beaches of Long Island when not in high season.
As a writer, Mr. Burns has forgotten to make the characters likeable, and there are so many of them you need a diagram to both connect them and tell them apart.
So little action takes place that really, the setting could just be adjoining couches, with characters shouting affectionate quips and insults at each other.
Burns's job as director is differentiating and spotlighting everyone in this large ensemble, a storytelling challenge to which he responds with a brisk pace and an eye for revealing moments.
Burns' latest demonstrates the workmanlike skill with which he's produced a new relationship drama every one or two years.
| Original Score: 6.2/10
A fertile battlefield of sibling discontent and parental resentment, creating a prickly but inviting familial atmosphere that offers enough variation in woe to ease the script out of its occasional dalliance with clumsy melodrama.
| Original Score: B+
A holiday drama that depicts the miracle of forgiveness in the midst of a storm of familial conflict and misunderstandings.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
The dysfunctional silbling-squabbling delivers diluted holiday cheer.
| Original Score: 6/10
[A]chingly lovely... so full of bittersweet melancholy and yet so fixedly hopeful without ever having to touch on the sentimental...
Manages the considerable feat of interweaving the personal dramas of nine members of a boisterous Irish-American clan into a coherent mosaic with a streamlined narrative drive.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
A holiday-themed piece shot through with humor and heartbreak. No bull. And low on sappy.
| Original Score: 3/4
A genuine charmer with appealingly natural performances and the kind of holiday warmth that can't be manufactured.
A terrific holiday movie. Edward Burns' most invigorating, heartfelt picture in years.
An unpretentiously ingratiating dramedy about members of an Irish-American clan drawn together, whether they want to be or not, for a yuletide celebration.