Stuart Saves His Family (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Stuart Saves His Family (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Home Video

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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
Peter Torokvei
as Minister
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)

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

Full Review… | May 14, 2008
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.

Full Review… | May 14, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Those familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step recovery programme may bond in sympathy. The sentimentality, however, doesn't play.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
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
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

All in all, it's a misfire -- but a misfire that's more interesting than a lot of successes.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Stuart Saves His Family


I'm not sure this expansion of a 90s SNL sketch warrants the feature treatment. I'm even less sure whether or not Al Franken's often humorous -- yet one-note -- TV character should carry his own film (I have the same doubts about the comedian himself in fact). Indeed, this whole endeavor may be better served with Franken's Stuart in a supporting role to a more well-rounded character. There's also too much of a reliance on the original catch phrases from the sketch and the over-the-top, goofball characters that Stuart "counsels" on his public access show. Even worse are the uber serious and emotional moments that come off so disingenuous when paired with Franken's lispy-voiced fruitcake. That being said, there are some moments of wit and humor to enjoy. Not quite enough to warrant this movie's existence, but sometimes you just gotta chuckle at Stuart's mix of self-deprecating and horribly insulting honesty.

Matthew Coratti
Matthew Coratti

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 Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

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
Leo L

Super Reviewer

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