The Talent Given Us (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Talent Given Us (2004)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: The Talent Given Us is an odd hybrid of reality and fiction, but works due to its engaging characters.

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Movie Info

Fact and fiction begin to blur in this comedy drama in which a filmmaker casts his parents, his siblings, and himself in a story loosely adapted from their own lives and personalities. Judy and Allen Wagner (played by Judy Wagner and Allen Wagner) are an elderly couple living in New York City who haven't seen their son, Andrew (Andrew Wagner), in some time. Deciding it's time they paid him a visit, Judy and Allen pack up their van and head out to Los Angeles, where Andrew is trying to make a name for himself as a director and screenwriter. Along the way, Judy and Allen decide to bring their daughters, Maggie (Maggie Wagner) and Emily (Emily Wagner), and the camera plays "fly on the wall" as Judy and Allen openly ponder the successes and failings of their children while they work on crossword puzzles, stop for meals, engage in small talk, and deal with the presence of fellow traveler Bumby (Judy Dixon). The first feature from Andrew Wagner, The Talent Given Us was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 CineVegas Film Festival.

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Cast

Virginia Nunez
as Housekeeper
Herschel Sklaroff
as Allen's Doctor
Tony Pepe
as Doorman
Larry Byrnes
as Andrew's High-School Basketball Coach
Bruce Breimer
as Andrew's High-School Basketball Coach
Steve Hoffenberg
as Allen's Former Business Parter
Kerry Brennan
as Collegiate School's Graduation Speaker
Peter Gomes
as Collegiate School's Graduation Speaker
Mike Zeidel
as Stock Exchange Guard
Arthur Rafkin
as Allen's Stock Exchange Friend
Bobby Florio
as Allen's Stock Exchange Friend
William Begley Jr.
as Allen's Stock Exchange Friend
Neil Zaki
as Car Salesman
Holly Cribs
as Country Market Waitress
Melissa Marshall
as Breakfast Waitress
J.R. Kotchman
as U-Haul Rental Man
Harrison James
as Andrew's Ex-Girlfriend
Kathy Harrison
as Andrew's Ex-Girlfriend's Mother
Stephen Harrison
as Andrew's Ex-Girlfriend's Father
Tommy Hines
as Disgruntled Actor
Brian Caruth
as VA Hospital Employee
Shaun O'Connor
as Hotel Receptionist
Steven Masters
as ER Staffer
Cindy Arett
as ER Staffer
Annette Johnson
as ER Staffer
River Madison
as Billy's Friend
Judy Deatherage
as Casino Breakfast Waitress
John De Moss
as Casino Dealer
Carol Tyler
as Casino Dealer
Tom Hansen
as Casino Dealer
Phil Zachry
as Casino Dealer
Ralph Wharton
as Casino Manager
Ann Gilbertson
as Emily's Party Friend
Whitney Clavin
as Emily's Party Friend
Debi Sokol
as Emily's Party Friend
Darlene Medve
as Emily's Party Friend
Bret Roberts
as Emily's Party Friend
Scoot McNairy
as Emily's Party Friend
Julie Zamaryonov
as Emily's Party Friend
Mike Romo
as Emily's Party Friend
Natalie Gunthorpe
as Emily's Party Friend
Silvia Limares
as House Cleaner
Sergio Martinez
as House Cleaner
Chris Baker
as Inquiring Student
Pam R. Jackson
as School Principal
Josh Krawitz
as Teacher
Rob Adetuyi
as Insomnia Cafe Writing Friend
Charlie Morton
as Insomnia Cafe Writing Friend
Bruce Joel Rubin
as Meditation Teacher
Md. Mohibul Haque
as New York Cab Driver
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Critic Reviews for The Talent Given Us

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (21)

Faux documentary, home movie or unexpurgated family therapy? The Talent Given Us, a funny, surprising ride with a mercurial New York clan, is all three.

October 13, 2005 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[A] one-of-a-kind movie that sends the family road-trip genre happily spinning into these self-obsessed, overanalytical times; it's National Lampoon's Vacation as re-imagined by Dr. Phil.

October 13, 2005 | Rating: B+

The notion that there is no escape from one's family is elevated-and ameliorated-by the inkling that the Wagners' story is, in fact, real.

October 13, 2005

Ultimately, the movie isn't as strong as the idea behind the movie, or the people inside that idea.

October 7, 2005 | Rating: C+

What initially seems hard to watch, even excruciating at times, becomes hard not to, a fascinating fiction that seems to be more real than just about any actual documentary you can imagine.

October 7, 2005 | Rating: 3/4

If you enjoy HBO's cult hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, you're almost guaranteed to enjoy this bawdy, heartbreaking, deeply discomfiting mockumentary.

September 29, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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