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SJP and The Family Stone

- Sarah Jessica Parker battles the forces of THE FAMILY STONE -

While the holidays stir mixed feelings of both excitement and dread, one can look to this year's holiday film, THE FAMILY STONE for a tad bit of sanity ... ok not really.

Everett (Dermot Mulroney) brings Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) to meet his family and to ask his mother Sybil (Diane Keaton) for her mom's wedding ring. The progressive Stone family makes conservative Meredith a tad uneasy and in a subtle way, vice versa. Enter into the mix meddling siblings Ben (Luke Wilson) and baby brat, Amy (Rachel McAdams) who revel in playing passive aggressive mind games. This pushes Meredith over the edge and is forced to call in reinforcements and support in the form of her sister Julie (Claire Danes).

In this dramatic comedy of error upon error, the great thing is that all the elements mean something more than what's shown at face value - a sign of a smart movie that unfortunately falls short of a believable twist.

And perhaps that's the only thing that is wrong with this film.

Sarah Jessica Parker sheds her Carrie Bradshaw SATC neurosis to play the uptight and tightly wound Meredith. Diane Keaton beams as the seemingly non but very judgmental matriarch of the festivities while Rachel McAdams does nasty on a whole other level on par with her breakthrough Mean Girls performance. Craig T Nelson's Kelly fights hard doing the best he can as head of the spirited family while Dermot Mulroney and Luke Wilson give sibling rivalry a new meaning.

I'll admit it ... I cried twice, not of laughter, but of the emotions running throughout this film. Not to say there aren't a ton of funny moments, there are. The humour lies in the reality of life, and it's good comedy because it actually means something rather than being pelted with a slew of sight gags, cheap shots and one-liners.

The soap-smelling scene alone is by far one of the funniest, emotionally charged scenes in the film. And while I'm still not fond of the big twist, it still would be worth it to watch on the big screen.


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