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Get Stone for Christmas

Megan Mowbray
Megan Mowbray
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“My family is just weird.” Everybody says it, but no one explains why.

Well, here is a flick that lets you in, all the way in, and describes what people really mean when they brush off their family members as a little bit odd. There just has to be a little bit of everyone’s family life represented in “The Family Stone;” whether it’s the gay brother with an interracial relationship and child, the slacker son, the calm pregnant sister, the bitchy sister, the brother who is about to be engaged, the sick mother, or the father who is trying to hold it all together.

Sarah Jessica Parker is Meredith, the girlfriend of Everett Stone, played by Dermot Mulroney. Everett has taken Meredith home to meet the parents. Meredith has already been labeled an annoying, trite, “clam-digger” by the little sister, Amy, played by Rachel McAdams. The ahem-excuse-me kind. By the second day, Meredith has grown tired of being the butt of every family member’s joke and leaves the house of Stone to check into an inn. Enter Meredith’s beautiful sister, Julie, played by Claire Danes. Soon, everything is twisted upside down. Everett who planned to use the trip home to propose to Meredith, starts falling for her sister. And Everett’s brother, Ben, played by Luke Wilson, has designs on Meredith. The competition leads to perhaps the funniest scene of the holiday movie season when the Stone brothers chase each other around the dining room table before coming to a screeching halt underneath the kitchen table.

Talk about running an emotional gamut, from out-loud laughter, to crowd-muttering ‘aw’s, and even some boredom thrown in the middle for good measure. In such a fast-paced movie with so many characters, a dinner scene drags on toward the middle. While it helps to establish Meredith as the uptight antithesis of the family known as Stone, director Thomas Bezucha could have made his point in five minutes, as opposed to the drawn-out end-of-dinner discussion that appears in the film. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions about gay marriage, gay families, interracial relationships, and the physically handicapped, there are parts in the film that aren’t believable. Meredith seems too bold to be a girlfriend meeting the potential in-laws for the first time. And the ready-to-be-betrothed Everett now can’t decide which beautiful sister he will ask to marry him. But while the movie was undoubtedly funny, and even dared to explore the world of being PC, there are few movies I have seen pave the way for such an intense, emotional transition.

Slowly we find out more and more about the family Stone, and what makes them tick, and whose tick is about to tock. While the laughter runs on after Meredith and her follies, not to mention her dancing moves in a hole-in-the-wall bar, a little more starts to show through the movie. What I me an by a little more, is something a little more real, something that somehow manages to really get through the thick skin most of us wear to the movies. There are incredible scenes spattered throughout the film between siblings, parent and child, and husband and wife. And if you have any heart at all, make sure your mom is on speed dial as you walk out after the credits, because by then, that lump in your throat will have dissolved enough to be able to tell her you love her.

With a cast that includes greats like Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson (who make an incredible pair), Luke Wilson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Dermot Mulroney, and the up-and-coming Rachel McAdams, you might think someone would get lost. But each manage to pull their own character out of the shadows and deliver a stunning performance of family love, even if at times there is a little bit of loathing.


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