Stuart Saves His Family


Stuart Saves His Family

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 27


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,197
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Movie Info

Al Franken brings his Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley to the big screen in this unexpectedly downbeat comedy about a man desperately trying to overcome his dysfunctional upbringing. Stuart hosts a TV show on public access TV in which he offers bits of New Age wisdom on self-help, often incorporating his trademark affirmation, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" Too bad Stuart's advice doesn't work so well for himself; he barely supports himself as a waiter, his self-esteem is shaky at best, and his family is dominated by depressive alcoholics sunk in denial (for all his quirks, Stuart is the only Smalley willing to admit he has a problem). One day, Stuart's friend Julia (Laura San Giacomo) tells him that a cable network is looking for programming, and suggests he should pitch his show to them. Soon Stuart has a nationwide audience and is actually able to support himself, but that's small comfort when his family falls into another crisis. By turns a goofy comedy and a serious look at a dysfunctional family, Stuart Saves His Family does feature a few strong dramatic performances by Laura San Giacomo, Vincent D'Onofrio and Shirley Knight, and a distinctive comic turn by Julia Sweeney as a guest on Stuart's show.


Al Franken
as Stuart
Marjorie Lovett
as Aunt Paula
Walt Robles
as Smalley Uncle
Erik Cord
as Smalley Uncle
Denver Mattson
as Smalley Uncle
Grant Hoover
as Young Stuart
Cory Milano
as Young Donnie
Michelle Horn
as Young Jodie
Harris Laskawy
as Mr. Dimmit
Tom Dugan
as Ajax Spokesperson
Camille Saviola
as Roz Weinstock
Bess Meyer
as Laurie
Patrick Kerr
as Makeover Artist
Dakin Matthews
as Intervention Counselor
Marte Boyle Slout
as Madelyn Doyle
Joe Flaherty
as Cousin Ray
Robin Duke
as Cousin Denise
Lewis Arquette
as Cemetery Official
Allen Garfield
as Maitre d'
Pamela Brull
as Female Diner
Walter Olkewicz
as Larry Skoag
Jeremy Roberts
as Brad Skoag
Steven Kampmann
as Stan Brunner
Violet Ramis
as Production Assistant
Aloma Wright
as Autograph Seeker
Rachel Miller
as Woman with Subpoena
Kurt Fuller
as Von Arks
Walter S. Beaver
as Orville Egeberg
Michael C. McCarthy
as Merl Egeberg
David Pasquesi
as Tollefson
R.M. Haley
as Bailiff
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Critic Reviews for Stuart Saves His Family

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (19)

  • It isn't good enough, it isn't smart enough, and, doggone it, most people won't like Stuart Saves His Family.

    May 14, 2008

    Joe Leydon

    Top Critic
  • Even if you find Franken hard to bear, as I do, the movie's take on how he functions in the world is both authoritative and compelling, and the movie steadily grows in stature.

    May 14, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Those familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step recovery programme may bond in sympathy. The sentimentality, however, doesn't play.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The plotting is surprisingly banal, involving even talk of a property easement and turning Stuart into the executor of a relative's estate. And the relatives' problems are taken semi-seriously, which is more than this lightweight film can handle.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2/5
  • It was much funnier when we didn't see Stuart's family. And, if we have to see them, it would have been much funnier if they were strait-laced '50s sitcom types.

    Feb 13, 2001 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • All in all, it's a misfire -- but a misfire that's more interesting than a lot of successes.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Stuart Saves His Family

  • Nov 21, 2007
    I liked the Stuart Skit on Saturday Night Live; it's a funny premise of self-help addiction. The movie wasn't too bad, but the characters got a bit annoying.
    Lafe F Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2007
    I'm not a fantatic of the Stuart character. This film directed by Harold Ramis was hilarious! I enjoyed watching the entire movie.
    Leo L Super Reviewer
  • Oct 12, 2007
    Another SNL skit that sucked as a movie!
    Ida K Super Reviewer
  • Feb 05, 2007
    Wow . . . who woulda thunk it? Stuart Smalley is a memorable character from Al Franken's SNL days. I'm not sure I actually mean "memorable" in a good way here, but Smalley is not easliy forgotten. The SNL episode with Michael Jordan leaps to mind. <p>Here's an impromptu scale for movies that deal with addiction: Ray Milland in <i>Lost Weekend</i> on the heavy end, Jeff Bridges in <i>Big Lebowski</i> on the light end. Franken manages to deal with the problem of addiction in a way that's tipped to the Milland end: very serious, almost too serious, for what would appear to be a comedy. <p> Vincent D'Onofrio . . . may actually be the best job he's done. I'm no fan. <p> Really, flixster friends, not a bad movie at all. Love the picture in front of the Hollywood sign.
    Lanning : Super Reviewer

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