Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Running Time: 104 mins
The Family Stone is an American film about a woman who travels to her boyfriend’s family house for Christmas, but soon discovers that the entire family is seemingly intent on driving her away, causing chaos over the holiday season.
Families don’t always get on. And famously, bringing together people who may share the same surname but come from all walks of life is a fantastic tinderbox for tensions and arguments galore. And that’s exactly what The Family Stone is, a film that’s more about bickering and superficial tension than anything else, providing a rather low-effort portrayal of the classic trials of a big family Christmas.
Though it’s billed as a festive comedy, The Family Stone really doesn’t have many laughs to speak of. Sure, some of its hijinks might spark a smirk or two, and a couple of energetic performances here and there mean that it’s not an overwhelmingly unfunny watch, but the movie is far more annoying than it is ever hilarious.
While not quite on the dispiriting level of Four Christmases, The Family Stone takes the classic tensions at Christmas and runs with them to the most ridiculous extent. Sure, people don’t always get on, but the film’s entire first two acts are based on the seemingly random decision of the entire family to pile on the woman joining them for the festive season.
The screenplay does try to justify their actions as we take a look back into the family’s history. However, the combination of infuriating slips from our leading lady, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and irritatingly snide remarks from family members including Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams, make it so difficult to form any rational view of the people that star in this story.
And as much as the supposedly sweet side romance between Sarah Jessica Parker and Luke Wilson is meant to placate the highly-strung atmosphere, it falls by the wayside quite rapidly after a series of yet more ridiculous twists that just feel like forced excuses to see the family bicker and argue more and more.
The Family Stone isn’t a depressingly bad Christmas movie, but it’s by no means a fun one. Despite its A-list cast and a few likable moments, it’s a pretty painful watch, and certainly one of the least cosy festive flicks you’ll encounter. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 5.7 overall.