This movie was billed on the back of the DVD box as a ‘feel good comedy’ about a family reunited for Christmas, featuring a large cast of well known, bankable actors.
So on Christmas Day we grabbed the popcorn and cooldrinks and settled down for a rip roaring evening of laughter and Christmas spirit.
What we got was nearly two hours of melodrama in a movie that would have been far more accurately billed as a “study of middle class prejudice”.
Basic premise: Everett (Dermot Mulroney), the serious older brother of the Stone family, brings his new girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) home to meet the family at Christmas time. Before she even walks in the door, most of the family have already decided they don’t like her. So they set out to make her feel as uncomfortable as a stranger can possibly feel at a big family gathering.
Everett asks Mom (Diane Keaton) for the family ring [the family stone of the title] as he intends to propose to Meredith. He then spends the rest of the movie being a spineless wimp who turns his back on her and proceeds to fall in love with her goody two shoes sister (Claire Danes). The only support Meredith gets is from Everett’s endearing but goofball brother (Luke Wilson).
Do we feel sorry for this abused heroine? No, because she just comes across as an uptight racist bigot. She tries to defend her opinions, and in an outburst accuses the family of pigeon-holing her as an uptight racist bigot. Well yeah, because that’s how you’ve behaved throughout the movie so far!
Apart from the obviously misleading billing of this movie as a romantic comedy, the biggest failure of this movie, in my opinion, is that none of the characters are given any meaningful reason for their actions. It’s all back to that motivation thing again.
Why are Everett’s sisters so bitchy? Why does Mom dislike Meredith so much? Why is Everett such a spineless waste of space? Why does the heroine keep spouting idiotic sentiments that make her completely unlikeable? And what the hell does sweet Brad the paramedic see in little sister Amy?
We never find out the answers to any of the above, so unless you enjoy angst-ridden drama in which people are nasty to each other for an hour and a half for no good reason, don’t bother watching this movie.
Oh ... there is a two-minute slapstick sequence when Everett chases little brother Ben around the house which might be classed as comedy. Why are they fighting? Because after the big scene in which the heroine offended everyone and the family effectively ran her out, little brother took her out drinking. And when she was blind drunk, he didn’t take advantage of her. Yeah, you read that right.
Have you seen this movie? What did you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think I completely missed the point? And what do you think of some of the comments on the movie left by IMDB users?