Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trailer Review: The Kids Are All Right

Release Date: July 7, 2010

Website: Official The Kids Are All Right site

Starring: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson

My Review: My first reaction after watching the trailer for The Kids Are All Right was to breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, a comedy with truly talented actors that isn’t based around a gimmick! There’s nary a wacky wedding scene, a sassy geriatric, or a road trip to Las Vegas to be found. And what’s more, the plot is actually a plausible situation. Are filmmakers finally starting to notice that real life can actually be amusing?

Moore and Bening are lesbian couple Jules and Nic, who are mothers to two teens, Joni and Laser (played by Wasikowska and Hutcherson). As is natural, Joni and Laser are curious about where they came from, so they dig up their sperm-donor dad Paul (Ruffalo) and give him a call. Suddenly, he’s no longer a passing interest or a faceless DNA distributor as he eagerly becomes an active part in their non-traditional family life. Jules is pretty cool with it, Nic is less so, the kids are happy to get to learn more about themselves, and Paul is like an excited puppy; sort of confused about what he’s gotten himself into, but he’s just so happy to be there.

Besides how not contrived the story is, I also love how a non-traditional family is painted as a harmonious and functional unit, rather than being played for cheap laughs. Jules and Nic have been together for ages and are clearly devoted to each other and the life they share, but of course they have their share of squabbles and disagreements. Joni and Laser are bright, intelligent teens who, despite being curious about their origins, don’t bemoan the fact that they were raised by two women. I also like how Jules and Nic each gave birth to one of their children, as lesbian couples are so often portrayed as one being the “mom” and the other the “dad,” thus fitting them more closely to the “conventional” family mold. But Jules and Nic don’t need convention; they each have a nurturing side, a disciplinary side, and their own distinct personality, flaws and all. Every family should be so lucky.

Would I Pay For It?: While I don’t necessarily think The Kids Are All Right warrants a trip to the theater, I look forward to the DVD release (it’s been in my Netflix queue ever since the positive reaction it got at Sundance last January).

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