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It Runs In The Family (PG-13)
Official Site
Director: Fred Schepisi
Producers: Michael Douglas, Michael Keaton
Written by: Jesse Wigutow
Cast: Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Bernadette Peters, Cameron Douglas, Diana Douglas, Rory Culkin, Michelle Monaghan

Rating: out of 5

It Runs In The Family is a film about life threading at the edges, gradually wearing away like your oldest pair of denim jeans.

The Grombergs span three generations. Grandfather Mitchell (Kirk Douglas) plays the aging patriarch recovering from a stroke, and is witty and rude in the way that only lovable grandfathers can be. His lawyer son Alex (Michael Douglas) is at the hub of the family, although he is slowly losing ground as he realizes that his family is not as tightly woven as he once thought.

His sons are “weird” as their mother Rebecca (Peters) describes them. This translates into meaning that the eldest, Asher (Cameron Douglas) is the quintessential slacker and a small-time pot dealer unbeknownst to his parents and 11-year-old Eli (Culkin) dresses like a miniature banker and itemizes his allowance for fun.

It Runs In The Family runs at constant speed as a family saga, although nothing truly spectacular or unusual occurs. The ending is a bit flat, but the rest is engaging despite its everyday feel, and is pretty much everything you would expect from an onscreen reunion of the Douglas clan. The ensemble cast works well together, hardly surprising considering that more than half of them are related and the chemistry embedded in any family is apparent. Acting certainly runs in the Douglas family, but their acting chops are not exactly stretched in this film, with the exception of the senior Douglas. His current physical ailments not only added to his onscreen performance, but made him the most interesting character in the entire movie. Now, nepotism isn’t normally endorsed, but in this case it was much appreciated. It added a weird voyeuristic feel to It Runs In The Family, and was perhaps the single truly unique aspect of the film.

If you want to stray from the usual gamut of reality television shows for a couple hours, but still want to half-heartedly play a Peeping Tom, this movie was made for you. But sorry, there’s no Catherine Zeta-Jones action in this one. Not that anyone actually wants to see her making out with Michael Douglas in public.

—Sandra M. Ogle


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