5.5/10
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The Family Tree (2011)

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A mother and wife stricken with memory loss allows a dysfunctional family a second chance at harmony and happiness.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rachel Levy
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Bunnie Burnett
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Jack Burnett
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Christopher Bradley ...
Bobby Overmier
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Simon Krebs
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Alicia Bouche
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Nina Fouts
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Reverend Diggs
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Dr. Lieberman
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Josh Krebs
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Young Police Officer
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Trey
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T-Boy (as Shad Moss a/k/a Bow Wow)
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Storyline

The Burnetts are dysfunctional. Jack and Bunnie barely speak, he fantasizes about women at work, she's having an affair with a neighbor and possibly others. Daughter Kelly is foul-mouthed; their son Eric is a militant Christian and an excellent shot. Bunnie's rich mom tries to control things. While a dead peeping Tom hangs undiscovered in a tree outside their bedroom window, Bunnie sustains a head injury and wakes up unable to remember anything after the first days of their marriage. Her newlywed sweetness infuses the family as Jack sorts through issues at work, Eric discovers flaws in his Christian posse, and Kelly makes friends with a lesbian classmate. Can this change of personality last? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, pervasive language, drug use and some violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

26 August 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Driving Lessons  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,658 (USA) (26 August 2011)

Gross:

$3,658 (USA) (26 August 2011)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?

Goofs

Toward the beginning when Eric and Rev. Diggs are shooting together at the range the cross on Eric's hat turns sideways as he pulls his ear-guards off and then in the next shot it is right side up even though he never touched it. See more »

Soundtracks

STFU
Written by Kari Kimmel, Joe Corcoran and Fiona Brawley
Performed by Kari Kimmel
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User Reviews

 
Slapdash and unfocused but pleasant nonetheless
4 January 2012 | by (France) – See all my reviews

First off, Christina Hendricks fans: don't waste your time. She's in the film for all of three minutes (long enough for the camera to linger longingly on her chest, of course) and otherwise doesn't have much to do with the plot.

While pleasant enough, this movie comes off as slap-dash and unfocused. It just doesn't know where it wants to go, which story/character it really wants to follow. This is partly the fault of being based on the "dysfunctional family" trope, which works best when we still manage to care/sympathize/identify with at least one of the family members. The problem here is that we can't: the mother's a bitch, the father's an impotent robot, the son's a gun-obsessed Jesus freak (the gun obsession serving only to telegraph the ending), and the awful mother-in-law doesn't actually appear until the very end of the film. Only the fake-slut daughter comes off as somewhat sympathetic, but the film refuses to focus on her character, and she remains somewhat of a stick-figure (figuratively and literally).

The lack of focus comes through from the very beginning: the film starts with a voice-over, of the gun-freak son, but abruptly drops the voice-over, only to revive it again at the very end -- in order to give a film-standard wearily wise "look at how much we've learned" speech that doesn't really work. The voice-over might have worked better if the son had been the central character and the film had been meant to examine his growth -- but he isn't and the film doesn't.

All in all, it appears the director/writer didn't have a clear idea about what movie they were making. The result is a slapdash, unfocused effort.

Still, for all that, the movie was pleasant enough to sit through, with a few funny bits and good performances from the actors. Not something I'd recommend paying for -- wait for it to hit cable.


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