IMDb > The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums
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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) More at IMDbPro »

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The Royal Tenenbaums -- Trailer for The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums -- Trailer for The Royal Tenenbaums


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Down 23% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Wes Anderson (written by) &
Owen Wilson (written by)
View company contact information for The Royal Tenenbaums on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 January 2002 (USA) See more »
Family Isn't A Word... It's A Sentence. See more »
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 11 wins & 35 nominations See more »
(760 articles)
User Reviews:
Engaging, ghoulish "Tenenbaums" is comic royalty at its best See more (951 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Gene Hackman ... Royal Tenenbaum

Anjelica Huston ... Etheline Tenenbaum

Ben Stiller ... Chas Tenenbaum

Gwyneth Paltrow ... Margot Tenenbaum

Luke Wilson ... Richie Tenenbaum

Owen Wilson ... Eli Cash

Bill Murray ... Raleigh St. Clair

Danny Glover ... Henry Sherman

Seymour Cassel ... Dusty

Kumar Pallana ... Pagoda

Alec Baldwin ... Narrator (voice)

Grant Rosenmeyer ... Ari Tenenbaum

Jonah Meyerson ... Uzi Tenenbaum
Aram Aslanian-Persico ... Young Chas Tenenbaum

Irina Gorovaia ... Young Margot Tenenbaum (as Irene Gorovaia)
Amedeo Turturro ... Young Richie Tenenbaum
Stephen Lea Sheppard ... Dudley Heinsbergen
James Fitzgerald ... Young Eli Cash

Larry Pine ... Peter Bradley
Don McKinnon ... Detective

Frank Wood ... Hotel Manager

Al Thompson ... Walter Sherman
Jennifer Wachtell ... Rachael Tenenbaum

Donal Lardner Ward ... Hotel Clerk (as Donal Ward)

Andrew Wilson ... Farmer Father / Tex Hayward
Dipak Pallana ... Doctor
Sanjay Mathew ... Sanjay Gandhi

Mary Wigmore ... Chas' Secretary
Sonam Wangmo ... Sing-Sang
Gita Gabriel ... Facialist
Pawel Wdowczak ... Neville Smythe-Dorleac
Peter Leung ... Yasuo Oshima
William Sturgis ... Franklin Benedict
Liam Craig ... Reporter in Blue Cardigan
Sheelagh Tellerday ... Eli's Aunt

Max Faugno ... Cote d'Ivoire Attendant
Guido Venitucci ... Cote d'Ivoire Radio Operator

Ebon Moss-Bachrach ... Frederick - Bellboy
Brian Smiar ... Elderly 'Baumer' Fan #1
Jan Austell ... Elderly 'Baumer' Fan #2 (as Jan V.E. Austell)
Rony Clanton ... Cemetery Maintenance Man
Salim Malik ... Anwar
Tom Lacy ... Judge
Keith Charles ... Royal's Lawyer
Greg Goossen ... Gypsy Cab Driver (as Greg Goosen)

Saidah Arrika Ekulona ... Nurse (as Sadiah Arrika Ekulona)
Vic Mata ... Sanchez
Michael J. Conti ... Irish Longshoreman (as Michael Conti)
Tatiana Abbey ... Parisian Girl

Kalani Queypo ... New Guinea Tribesman
Mel Cannon ... Punk Rocker
Leo Manuelian ... Eli's Egyptian Friend
Amir Raissi ... Eli's Egyptian Friend
Roger Shamas ... Eli's Egyptian Friend
Philip Denning ... Father Petersen

Gary Evans ... Police Officer
Rex Robbins ... Mr. Levinson
Nova Landaeus-Skinnar ... Elaine Levinson
Sam Hoffman ... Paramedic
Brian Tenenbaum ... Paramedic
Stephen Dignan ... Paramedic

Eric Chase Anderson ... Medical Student
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Wes Anderson ... Tennis Match Commentator #1 (voice) (uncredited)
Tomm Bauer ... Tennis Ball Boy (uncredited)
Ray Castellanos ... Grocery Clerk (uncredited)

Blaze Kelly Coyle ... Tennis Socialite (uncredited)

Michael Cuomo ... Tennis Fan (uncredited)
Dimitri DeFresco ... Archeology Student (uncredited)
Sherrie Fell ... Secratary (uncredited)

Daniel Koenig ... Tennis Fan (uncredited)

Elizabeth Logan ... Tennis Fan (uncredited)
Seth Michael May ... Archeologist (uncredited)
Lian Moy ... Patron (uncredited)

Kevin Kean Murphy ... Archaeologist (uncredited)

Alem Brhan Sapp ... Desmond (uncredited)

Kaipo Schwab ... Polynesian Chief (uncredited)
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Directed by
Wes Anderson 
Writing credits
Wes Anderson (written by) &
Owen Wilson (written by)

Produced by
Wes Anderson .... producer
Barry Mendel .... producer
Scott Rudin .... producer
Rudd Simmons .... executive producer
Will Sweeney .... associate producer
Owen Wilson .... executive producer
Original Music by
Mark Mothersbaugh 
Cinematography by
Robert D. Yeoman (director of photography) (as Robert Yeoman)
Film Editing by
Dylan Tichenor 
Casting by
Douglas Aibel 
Production Design by
David Wasco 
Art Direction by
Carl Sprague 
Costume Design by
Karen Patch 
Makeup Department
Kashka Banjoko .... hair stylist: Danny Glover
Kate Biscoe .... key makeup artist
Judy Chin .... makeup artist
Jerry DeCarlo .... key hair stylist (as Jerrold DeCarlo)
Naomi Donne .... makeup designer
Marie-Ange Ripka .... hair designer
Martel Thompson .... makeup artist
Christine Domaniecki .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Francie Fillatti .... additional hair stylist (uncredited)
Production Management
Denise Pinckley .... unit production manager
Paul A. Levin .... post-production supervisor (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sam Hoffman .... first assistant director
Michelle L. Keiser .... second assistant director
Kathryn-Ann Oaks Shertzer .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Joseph Alfieri .... carpenter (as Joe A. Alfieri Jr.)
Mark Bachman .... graphic artist
Avery S. Brandon .... scenic painter (as Avery Brandon)
Dalia Burde .... art department assistant
Miguel Calderon .... artist: paintings at Eli Cash's
Shannon Canfield .... on-set dresser
Carolyn Cartwright .... set decorator: New York
John S. Coda .... construction foreman
Justin Corbett .... construction grip
Robert de Mar .... set dresser (as Robert A. de Mar III)
Phil Devonshire .... shop electrician (as Philip Devonshire)
Amy Dholakia-Jorand .... industrial scenic (as Amy S. Dholakia)
Kenneth T. Engels .... key construction grip
Laura G. Gillen .... scenic painter (as Laura Gillen)
Hugo Guinness .... artist: paintings at Eli Cash's (as Hugo Guiness)
Peter Hackman .... scenic foreman (as Peter G. Hackman)
Sandy Hamilton .... property master
Julia G. Hickman .... art department administrator
Doug Huszti .... assistant art director (as Douglas A. Huszti)
Bill Kolpin .... greensman (as William J. Kolpin)
George Kousoulides .... scenic artist
George Kousoulides .... scenic painter
Diane J. Laurienzo .... scenic shop manager (as Diane Laurienzo)
Alexandra Mazur .... assistant set decorator
Sarah E. McMillan .... set dresser (as Sarah E. McMillian)
Kevin Melarkey .... set dresser
Mike Melchiove .... carpenter (as Mike Melchiorre)
Kris Moran .... assistant property master (as Kristine Moran)
Gerard Morrone .... set dresser
Thomas Nousias .... scenic shop manager
Elliott Puckette .... artist: paintings at Eli Cash's (as Eliot Puckette)
Sandy Reynolds-Wasco .... key set decorator (as Sandy Reynolds Wasco)
Jon Ringbom .... charge scenic
Scott Rosenstock .... leadman
Tom Sarr .... model maker
Will Scheck .... greensman
Adam Scher .... assistant art director
Mark Simon .... set dresser
Julie Sloan .... scenic painter (as Julie Sloane)
Nell Stifel .... camera scenic artist
Peiran Teng .... portrait artist
Jonathan Tessler .... props
Irapaul Turner .... shop coordinator (as Ira Paul Turner)
Gary Wattson .... set dresser
Thomas White .... construction coordinator (as Tom White)
Joan Winters .... graphic design
Daniel Woods .... construction grip
Gillian V. Albinski .... set dresser (uncredited)
Tony Gardner .... specialty props (uncredited)
Douglas G. Young .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Mark Berger .... sound re-recording mixer
David Boulton .... adr mixer
Benjamin Cheah .... sound effects recordist (as Ben Cheah)
Ryan Collison .... foley recording engineer
Kay Denmark .... adr boom operator
John P. Fasal .... sound effects recordist (as Johnpaul Fasal)
Phillip Fuller .... technical assistant
John Gutierrez .... cable puller/second boom operator
Robert Hein .... supervising sound editor
Kenton Jakub .... adr editor
Bobby Johanson .... adr mixer
Paul Koronkiewicz .... boom operator
Avi Laniado .... technical assistant
Eric McAllister .... assistant sound editor
Sylvia Menno .... dialogue editor
Todd Milner .... foley editor
Branka Mrkic .... dialogue editor (as Branka Mrkic-Tana)
Douglas Murray .... adr mixer (as Douglas L. Murray)
Glenfield Payne .... first sound effects editor
Eric Potter .... sound effects recordist
Steven Simons .... sound re-recording mixer (as Steve Simons)
Wyatt Sprague .... sound effects recordist
Dominick Tavella .... sound re-recording mixer
Robert Troeller .... technical assistant
Brian Vancho .... foley artist
Magdaline Volaitis .... sound effects editor
Peter Waggoner .... sound re-recording mixer
David Wahnon .... first assistant sound editor
Pawel Wdowczak .... sound mixer
Akil Wilson .... apprentice sound editor (as Akil Jelani Wilson)
Special Effects by
Robert J. Scupp .... special effects coordinator (as Bob Scupp)
John Stifanich .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Randall Balsmeyer .... visual effects supervisor
Jennifer Basnyat .... digital artist
J. John Corbett .... digital animation artist
J. John Corbett .... digital compositing artist
Jennifer Cossetto .... digital animation artist
Jennifer Cossetto .... digital compositing artist
Kathy Kelehan .... visual effects producer
Naomi Nishimura .... digital animation artist
Naomi Nishimura .... digital compositing artist
Eric Person .... digital animation artist
Eric Person .... digital compositing artist
Jim Rider .... digital animation artist
Jim Rider .... digital compositing artist
Amit Sethi .... digital animation artist
Amit Sethi .... digital compositing artist
Jana Spotts .... visual effects coordinator
Chris Barnes .... stunts
Joseph Barry .... stunts (as Joe Barry)
Amanda Blew .... stunts
Paul Bucossi .... stunts
Peter Bucossi .... stunts
Victor Chan .... stunts
Norman Douglass .... stunts
Andy Duppin .... stunts
Roy Farfel .... stunts
Frank Ferrara .... stunts
Tim Gallin .... stunts
Tony Guida .... stunts
Don Hewitt .... stunts
Donald John Hewitt .... stunts (as Donald J. Hewitt)
Jery Hewitt .... stunts (as Jerry Hewitt)
Jennifer Lamb .... stunts
Joanne Lamstein .... stunts
Jalil Jay Lynch .... stunts
Steve Mack .... stunts
John Patrick McLaughlin .... stunts (as Jack McLaughlin)
Kristopher Medina .... stunts
Mick O'Rourke .... stunts
Janet Paparazzo .... stunts
Don Picard .... stunts
Michael Russo .... stunt coordinator (as Mike Russo)
Keith Siglinger .... stunts
Adam Silfin .... stunts
Derrick Simmons .... stunts
Manny Siverio .... stunts
Harrison Stimmel .... stunts
Jimmy P. Wong .... stunts (as Jimmy Wong)
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert M. Andres .... key grip
Alison Barton .... first company grip
Glenn D. Bloom .... video playback operator (as Glenn Bloom)
Mel Cannon .... grip
Lamont Crawford .... dolly grip
Andy Day .... chief lighting technician (as Andrew J. Day)
Christopher Donohue .... grip
David M. Dunlap .... camera operator: "a" camera
David Flanigan .... loader
Michael Fradianni .... electrician
Charlie Grubbs .... electrician (as Charles Grubbs)
James Hamilton .... still photographer
William Hines .... generator operator: base camp
Michael Hunold .... electrician
Nils Johnson .... video playback operator
Francis Leach .... electrician (as Francis V.H. 'Bosko' Leach)
Kurt Lennig .... rigging best boy electric
Christopher Liscinsky .... electrician
Rocco Palmieri .... best boy electric
John Panuccio .... key rigging grip
Storn Peterson .... first assistant camera
Igor Potashanik .... grip (as Igor Potashnik)
Robert T. Prate .... best boy rigging grip (as Bob Prate)
Michael Lee Reed .... generator operator (as Michael L. Reed)
Lowell Schulman .... rigging lighting technician
Chris Skutch .... best boy grip
Dustin Smith .... grip (as Dusty Smith)
Joshua Solson .... electrician (as Josh Solson)
Steve Speers .... second assistant camera
Susan Starr .... additional camera operator
Patrick Taistra .... rigging grip (as Patrick J. Taistra)
Richard Yacuk .... rigging grip
Chris Drechsler .... electrician (uncredited)
Chris Lombardozzi .... electrician (uncredited)
Roger Marbury .... electrician (uncredited)
Johnny North .... additional camera operator (uncredited)
Casting Department
Byron Crystal .... extras casting
Sondra James .... voice casting
Ami Rothschild .... extras casting coordinator
Cindy Tolan .... casting associate
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michael Adkins .... wardrobe supervisor
Stephanie Biear .... head seamstress
Diana J. Collins .... set costumer
Lisa Emerson .... set costumer (as Lisa Emerson Machione)
Sharon Globerson .... assistant costume designer
Maya Lieberman .... additional costumer: Los Angeles (as Maya Vaughn)
Vahram Mateosian .... tailor
Katie Novello .... costume production assistant
Gali Noy .... costume production assistant
Gretchen Patch .... assistant costume designer: Los Angeles
Lisa Salomon .... costume production assistant
Hartsell Taylor .... wardrobe supervisor
Marian Toy .... additional costumer
Lara Greene .... additional seamstress (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Erin Crackel .... second assistant editor
Ann Gray .... post-production coordinator
Gabrielle Hannan .... post-production coordinator
Ben Hasler .... post-production assistant
Daniel R. Padgett .... additional editor
Chris Patterson .... first assistant editor (as Christopher Patterson)
Dana Ross .... color timer
Joe Violante .... dailies consultant (as Joey Violante)
Lou Levinson .... telecine colorist: high definition (uncredited)
Music Department
Nico Abondolo .... musician: bass
Bob Casale .... music engineer (as Robert Casale)
Jon Clark .... musician: woodwinds
Lavant Coppock .... musician: guitar
Brian Dembow .... musician: viola
Marsha Dickstein .... musician: harp (as Marcia Dickstein)
George Doering .... musician
Larry Dominello .... musician: piano
Martin Flores .... musician: percussion
Bruce Fowler .... musician: trombone
Julie Gigante .... musician: violin
Endre Granat .... musician: violin
Christopher Guardino .... conductor
Christopher Guardino .... musician: piano, celeste, harpsichord, organ
Christopher Guardino .... orchestrations
Christopher Guardino .... vocal arranger
Annette Kudrak .... music editor
Stewart Lerman .... music recording mixer
David Low .... music contractor
Frank Macchia .... music preparation
Jill Meyers .... music clearance
Michael Miller .... musician: guitar
Alexander Moore .... musician: whistler
Paul Morin .... musician: bass
Mark Mothersbaugh .... musician: celeste, organ and guitar
Daniel R. Padgett .... musician: whistler
Gordon Peeke .... musician: drums
Randall Poster .... music supervisor
Carlos Rodriguez .... orchestrator
Marshall Sella .... musician: whistler
David Speltz .... musician: cello (as Dave Speltz)
Sally Stevens .... choir contractor
Chet Swiatkowsky .... musician: harpsichord (as Chet Swaitkowski)
Booker White .... music preparation
Danping Wong .... music coordinator
Bruce Young Berman .... musician: guitar solos (uncredited)
Michael Boustead .... music editor (uncredited)
Mike Deasy .... musician (uncredited)
Sandy DeCrescent .... orchestra contractor (uncredited)
Kim Naves .... music editor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Timothy Shannon .... transportation co-captain
James Patrick Whalen Jr. .... transportation captain (as James P. Whalen)
Other crew
Jordan Alport .... production assistant
Eric Chase Anderson .... artist: Richie's artwork and original illustrations
Malcolm Auchincloss .... assistant: Mr. Rudin
Nadira Azermai .... set assistant
Gino J. Beneventano .... chef
Dawn Bridgewater .... production assistant
Ashlee Burnette .... assistant: Mr. Rudin
Stephen Carr .... location scout
Amy Carter .... first assistant accountant
Augie Carton .... key set production assistant
Steven P. Costabile .... medic
Judy Dickerson .... dialect coach
Bob Dickey .... projectionist
Stephen Dignan .... accounting clerk
Frances Fiore .... unit publicist
Sean Garrett Fogel .... production coordinator (as Sean Fogel)
Sara Gagliardi .... accounting clerk
Joan H. Geismar .... consultant: archaeology (as Joan H. Geismar Ph.D.)
Megan Gerard .... assistant: Mr. Rudin
Eliot Gerstel .... production office secretary
Theresa C. Gillen .... production assistant (as Teresa C. Gillen)
Darren Glover .... assistant parking coordinator
Greg Goossen .... stand-in: Mr. Hackman (as Greg Goosen)
Gwen Griffiths .... animal trainer (as Gwen Griffith)
Edith Hagigi .... assistant: Mr. Stiller
Krista Haimovitch .... location coordinator
Michael E. Hernandez .... caterer (as Mike Hernandez)
Joshua C. Hersko .... assistant: Mr. Rudin
Jared Hohl .... office production assistant
Stacy Hrisohoidis .... assistant craft service
Nick Julious .... assistant craft service
Elizabeth Klenk .... production assistant
Emily Klimkiewicz .... researcher
Lars Knudsen .... assistant: Mr. Rudin
Kim Krafsky .... animal trainer
Nora Lynch .... production assistant
April Mackin .... animal trainer
Brad Marro .... production assistant
Chris Marsh .... location assistant
Steve McAuliff .... animal trainer
Andrew McCabe .... production assistant
Patrick McDonald .... production assistant
Christian McHenry .... office production assistant (as Chris McHenry)
Sarisa Middleton .... assistant: Mr. Glover
Jason Miller .... assistant: Barry Mendel
Alexander Moore .... assistant: Mr. Anderson
Heather Neeld .... assistant production coordinator
Leda Nornang .... assistant: Mr. Rudin
Kelly O'Bier .... second assistant accountant
Charley Parlapanides .... assistant: Mr. Rudin (as Charles Parlapanides)
Derek Pastures .... parking coordinator
Scott Peterson .... script supervisor
Tony Phillippe .... production assistant
John Read .... location assistant (as John Reed)
Mike Reilly .... office production assistant
Sarah Schechter .... assistant: Barry Mendel
Robert Schiff .... assistant craft service
Rob Siwiec .... production assistant
Penni Smith .... payroll accountant (as Penni M.M. Smith)
Greg Stillman .... location assistant
Gwenn Stroman .... assistant: Ms. Huston
Hail Swam .... security
Will Sweeney .... assistant: Mr. Anderson
José Tejada .... security (as Jose Tejada)
Tim Trevathan .... production assistant
Jenny Turner .... assistant: Ms. Paltrow
Lynda Van Damm .... production accountant
Mark Van Holstein .... location scout (as Mark Von Holstein)
Gayle Vangrofsky .... assistant location manager
Kevin J. Walsh .... executive assistant: Mr. Rudin
Thomas J. Whelan .... location manager (as Tom Whelan)
Derek Wimble .... production assistant (as Derek R. Wimble)
Tim Ballou .... script clearance administrator (uncredited)
Patrick Corcoran .... assistant: Mr. Rudin (uncredited)
Jennifer Zolten Freed .... post-production accountant (uncredited)
Andrea Goldfein .... production assistant (uncredited)
Mike Le .... assistant: Owen Wilson (uncredited)
Jennifer Lyne .... location scout (uncredited)
Peter Madamba .... script researcher (uncredited)
Heather Magee .... assistant to producer (uncredited)
Thomas Maxwell .... stand-in (uncredited)
Reese Nanavati .... production assistant (uncredited)
Peter Pamela Rose .... adr loop group (uncredited)
Will Rowbotham .... assistant: Mr. Rudin (uncredited)
Josh Silfen .... production assistant (uncredited)
Paul Thornton .... stand-in (uncredited)
Eva Vedock .... craft service (uncredited)
James L. Brooks .... thanks
George Drakoulias .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for some language, sexuality/nudity and drug content
110 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:MA | Australia:M (TV rating) | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba) | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) (original rating) | Canada:14A (Ontario) (video rating: 2004) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-11 | France:U | Germany:12 | Hong Kong:IIB | Iceland:12 | Ireland:12 | Malaysia:18PL | Malaysia:U (cut) | Netherlands:MG6 | New Zealand:R13 | Norway:11 | Peru:14 | Philippines:PG-13 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG (cut) | Singapore:M18 (re-rating) | South Korea:15 | Spain:13 | Sweden:11 | Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #38556)

Did You Know?

Although the exteriors were largely shot in New York, Wes Anderson intentionally avoided virtually all shots of skyscrapers or other distinctive New York landmarks. In one scene, Royal and Pagoda are talking in Battery Park (on the southern tip of Manhattan) and Anderson intentionally had Kumar Pallana (Pagoda) stand directly in front of the Statue of Liberty so it wouldn't show up in the shot.See more »
Continuity: Royal's cigarette jumps from his hand to the ashtray repeatedly when he is having a conference with his three children.See more »
[first lines]
Narrator:Royal Tenenbaum bought the house on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year. Over the next decade, he and his wife had three children, and then they separated.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Seven Days with Scot Weisman (2012)See more »
Look At MeSee more »


Where did the phrase "let's shag ass" come from?
What is the name of the song played during the bus scene with Margot and Richie?
Why does Richie say he's going to kill himself tomorrow when he tries to kill himself at that moment?
See more »
57 out of 94 people found the following review useful.
Engaging, ghoulish "Tenenbaums" is comic royalty at its best, 18 February 2002
Author: Glacier571-3 from San Francisco

They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky...

Oops, that's the wrong family, isn't it? Oh well, no matter. The Royal Tenenbaums could very well be considered the First Family of Fright for the new millennium. Their utterly twisted and often hilarious exploits bring to mind memories of that other lovably weird clan.

But in terms of the little matter of family harmony, the difference is like oil and water. Neat? Sweet? Petite? The Tenenbaums? No way.

Director Wes Anderson's oddball showpiece opens in 1979. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman in a performance that is nothing short of amazing), a mustachioed chain smoker like Gomez Addams but nowhere near as attentive a father, is separated from his level-headed wife, Ethel (Anjelica Huston, who, ironically, played the always-cool Morticia in the two "Addams" films). They have three kids: Chas, Richie, and "adopted daughter" Margot.

Royal's blatant lack of interest in his children is the cause of the separation, and he makes no bones about it either. He purposely shoots Chas in the hand with a BB gun and openly criticizes Margot's play, among other things. And his reasoning for the separation? "Well, we made certain sacrifices by having children." Priceless.

After his departure, Ethel takes the children under her wing and they evolve into underage prodigies. Chas is a wealthy banker, Margot a successful playwright, and Richie a tennis pro sporting the nickname "The Baumer."

Disbarred and suddenly kicked out of a hotel room he's occupied for years, Royal, accompanied constantly by his Lurch-like Middle Eastern manservant Pagoda (Kumar Pallana), decides he wants to make amends for his actions by attempting to reunite with his estranged brood...even if it means faking a terminal illness. And that's when this delight of a movie really takes off.

However, things have changed during the 17 years Royal was separated from his family. The children have reached adulthood and are shadows of their former selves. Chas (Ben Stiller), constantly bedecked in red jogging suits - and black for funerals - is a widower with two young boys. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), complete with a Wednesday Addams-style blank glare, is married to a much older man, human study author Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray), and she spends six hours a day locked in her bathroom staring listlessly at the TV. Due to a childhood accident, she now has nine and a half fingers. Richie (Luke Wilson), following a humiliating burnout during a televised match, has become a recluse, travelling the world by ship and communicating only through telegrams. Meanwhile, Ethel is engaged to accountant Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), a Teddy bear in a blue suit. Oh, and Richie just happens to be infatuated with his sister Margot.

The well-paced screenplay by Anderson and Owen Wilson (who also has a supporting role as drug-addicted, self-absorbed Western author Eli Cash) does a great job of fleshing out each of the main characters, and as a result, viewers will empathize with some of them, no matter their motives. Although it's not an outright knee-slapping laugh fest, one of "Tenenbaums'" best selling points is its aspect of physical comedy, which actually provides more laughs than the spoken variety and adds to scenes instead of bogging them down, as opposed to random, pointless acts of slapstick that do nothing to advance the plot. The outrageous is turned into the subtle, and the results are hysterical moments such as Cash unexpectedly walking off the set of a talk show, Royal attempting to inject a little delinquency into Chas' straight-arrow boys, plus the funniest moment in the film: Richie's embarrassing swan song on the tennis court. Just imagine, say, Pete Sampras helplessly flinging his racket at his opponent's serve or removing his shoes and socks and sitting forlornly on the ground.

Then there's also a tour of Cash's quarters, complete with a handy stash of marijuana plants, a multitude of adult videos bearing colorful titles such as "Dark and Dirty", and a collection of large, horrid paintings that even Salvador Dali would have considered repulsive.

Throughout the film, nutty covers of books scribed by family members over time randomly pop up and cover the entire screen like wallpaper. In fact, the entire movie is played out much like a book, complete with occasional "chapter introductions" preceding cuts to different scenes. The opening credits are shown in an impossible-to-ignore bold font that nearly usurps the screen.

Although the aforementioned physical comedy is a hoot, the verbal is definitely no slouch. The snappy dialogue is full of witty one-liners, such as Royal's innovative use of adverbs when he describes Chas' late wife as "a terribly attractive woman." When Margot informs Ethel that she's been a smoker for 22 years, Ethel calmly replies, "I think you should quit." It's a no-brainer to say that the acting is through the roof. For such a large cast, there is a striking chemistry among the actors as they become so immersed in their onscreen personalities. In turn, the script is effective at balancing these roles out. Although Hackman is undoubtedly the star of the show, the other family members are given their time in the spotlight, and they are just as memorable as a result.

The execution of the diverse soundtrack helps set the mood for both humorous and foreboding moments, from the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" to film composer Mark Mothersbaugh's inspirational cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." Royal's mischievous outing with Chas' sons is set to Paul Simon's classic "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard," while Elliott Smith's dark "Needle In The Hay" is used effectively in a very disturbing scene. There's also plenty of classical mixed in with the classic rock, including Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here" (despite the fact that the movie takes place nowhere near Christmas), and my all-time favorite piece, Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie No. 1."

What took some points off the board was the fact that Hackman and Paltrow light up constantly. I despise smoking in movies, but here it's barely significant in the grand scheme of things. "The Royal Tenenbaums" is a terrific film that is easily recommended for those who enjoy quirky, offbeat yet intellectual humor, or for those simply in need of a good laugh...heck, it's great viewing for any warm-blooded human being, for that matter.

Not since the Family Addams has household dysfunction been so much fun. Snap, snap. 9/10

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Even the poster for this movie is clever. (Spoilers) roosterb1234
Ehh... What does everyone find so special about this film? jerentotten2
Hardcore Wes Fans: What makes this movie different? vincenttrapani
I Didn't Laugh Once. conorgmoran
This is one of those 'get it' or 'don't get it' movies. HenchmanZero
Owen Wilson's Contribution quintaros
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