An uptight, conservative, businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family's annual Christmas celebration and finds that she's a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life.
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Barbara Willis Sweete
Single-girl anxiety causes Kat Ellis (Messing) to hire a male escort (Mulroney) to pose as her boyfriend at her sister's wedding. Her plan, an attempt to dupe her ex-fiancé, who dumped her a couple years prior, proves to be her undoing.
The Stone family unites in common cause when their favorite son brings his uptight girlfriend home for the Christmas holiday, with plans of proposing. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, she begs her sister to join her for emotional support, triggering further complications. Written by
Rachel McAdams worked with both of the Wilson brothers in the same year. Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers (2005) and The Family Stone with Luke Wilson (2005). See more »
When Everett puts the ring on Julie's finger, the father (Kelly) is looking from behind Everett. When we see Kelly from the front his glasses are on top of his head. When we see him from the side, his glasses are on his face. See more »
[quoting 'Where the Wild Things Are' before he lights the tree]
"And now," cried Max, "Let the wild rumpus start."
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The premise of "The Family Stone" sounds a little shopworn: Everett Stone brings his uptight girlfriend Meredith home for Christmas to meet his large family, who instantly dislike her. Even worse, the trailer reveals most of the plot's complications. However, this premise has been used so often because it reliably provides opportunities for comedy, drama, and insight into family dynamics. "The Family Stone" proves itself a better-than-average example of the genre because of its talented cast and reasonably intelligent script.
Sarah Jessica Parker's presence ensures that Meredith always remains sympathetic, even when we can also perfectly understand why she irritates the Stones. The various Stones-- Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson--make the most of their roles, and, more importantly, they really do start to seem like a family, not a random collection of actors. The only actor who fails to make an impression is Claire Danes, who can't do much with the underwritten role of Meredith's sister Julie.
"The Family Stone" is not a groundbreaking movie, but it goes beyond the fish-out-of-water clichés that its plot might suggest. It finds the emotional truth, as well as the humor, in Meredith's situation. Plus, it's extremely evenhanded: all of the characters are flawed but likable, and in a climactic argument at the dinner table, both Meredith and Sibyl make valid points. Reviewers on this site have accused the movie of pushing a liberal agenda via its sympathetic portrayal of an interracial gay couple and a semi-bohemian family--and of pushing a conservative agenda via its portrayal of the Stones as hypocritical liberals who pay lip service to tolerance but are prejudiced against people like Meredith. Personally, I'm not sure if "The Family Stone" has any agenda, other than to cast good actors in a holiday comedy-drama that doesn't insult its audience's intelligence. And it succeeds pretty well at that.
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