On the day of their Father's 70th birthday party, four siblings come to terms with the publication of a novel written by the youngest sibling, that exposes the family's most intimate secrets. Written by
The hand with different colored painted nails in the beauty salon Michael C. Hall entered in the movie was the same as the "Ice Truck Killer's" trophy on Michael C. Hall's Emmy winning show Dexter (2006). See more »
Henry Meyerwitz had never wanted any children. But when he had his first, he remembered an old proverb. Commit a sin twice and it will not seem a crime. So he had more. And once a year, his sins, all grown up, gathered to celebrate his birthday. He didn't want to be there. They didn't want to be there. This year however, a book came out that made it even worse.
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An average dysfunctional comedy with a great cast, but a lot of missed opportunities
When a comedy comes along with a cast such as this one, I'm guessing that people are under the impression that it's going to be a rip-roaring laugh-fest -- complete with liquids coming out of orifices and hee-hee-ing so hard you can't breathe. This isn't that kind of movie. If you go into this movie expecting Dumb and Dumber, you are going to be disappointed.
Lewis Black is the narrator and he tells the story of Henry Meyerwitz (Rifkin) and his family. They've all gathered together for his 70th birthday and it doesn't look to be a happy affair. Jack (Hall) is his oldest son. He's got a wife, Laura (Greer), who's pregnant. He's the everyman character and would appear to have it all together. Cheri (Silverman) is the artist who hasn't really decided what she wants to do in life, that is, until the book Peep World came out. She seeks solace in her friend, Ephraim (Tobolowsky) who is a Jews for Jesus nut that hopes to one day get in her pants. Joel (Wilson) is the family's renegade risk-taker who also takes anything else he wants: drugs, pills, advantage, money from other siblings. He has a girlfriend, Mary (Henson) who works as a bailiff. Then, there's Nathan (Schwartz). He's written a very popular book entitled Peep World. It's about a dysfunctional family and his brothers and sisters seem to think it's a bit too on-the-nose for fiction. He has a legitimate reason for not wanting to go to the party tonight -- he'll have to face them for the first time since the book's release. There to help him (in more ways than one), is Meg (Mara), his PR person. Now that you've met the family, we get to see them getting ready for the big dinner party. Each one has their own little story and they share their memories about the old man, their fears about going, others are going for their own personal gain. It's certainly not your average family.
What I liked most about Peep World was that it wasn't some silly, goofy caricature of big families and all their problems. It seemed real and I could totally believe every single situation that was presented to us on screen. The movie could have gone with zany antics and big circus acts to dazzle us, but it's more subdued and mellow. There are a few scenes that get close to hilarity (Nathan's book signing), but Peep World is more about the characters and dialog than the all too easy sight gag. Real characters, real problems, real resolve -- all while still giving us clever, witty banter to keep us entertained and staying put. That's what the movie is about.
What didn't work for me in Peep World was the last 20 minutes or so. We get something that's all built up and then Jack's story with him and his wife bring it down to a screeching halt. It got too real for me. Leave the melodramatics aside and bring us the humor. It mucked up the flow of the story and spun it into an entirely different direction. Sure, it's touching and sweet and all that -- but if I wanted something like that, I would have watched a Hallmark movie or something. So, it got a bit too sickly sweet for my taste near the end. Well.... that and I didn't feel they used enough Lesley Ann Warren (she plays Henry's ex) and Alicia Witt (she play's Henry's new girlfriend and she plays the movie version of Cheri based on Nathan's book). They could have easily squeezed some humor out of it and let these two characters interact -- but, alas, they did not. Just another missed opportunity from Peep World. More reviews at www.soveryterry.com Final Grade: B-
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