★ / ★★★★
This movie’s greatest weakness is its writing and it is ultimately its downfall. Diane Keaton stars as an overbearing mother who moves into her son and daughter-in-law’s (Dax Shepard and Liv Tyler) house because she’s having marriage problems with her husband (Ken Howard). If her annoyances are not enough, an awkward writer who’s a friend of Liv Tyler’s character (Mike White) moves in with them to work on his potential science fiction/war movie script. With the exception of Tyler, I found everyone to be really annoying. I feel like the characters are more like caricatures of people with extreme personality problems instead of actual complex people with good qualities and bad qualities. Keaton tends to overact and I felt her desperation to be funny in every frame. It was painful to watch in the least. Shepard is also very unfunny; in fact, his character is pretty unkind to his mother even before she moved into the house. If I was in his shoes, even I would try to hear out my histrionic mother’s problems. Shepard’s character needed more heart and his frustrations in his own marriage and jobs are not enough of an excuse to warrrant his behavior. I also didn’t like the fact that Vince Di Meglio, the director, was too obvious in regards to telling his audiences what’s funny and what’s not funny. What I noticed was, most of the time, when something funny was happening, a character would scream or yell. Someone always has to be the butt of the joke and it’s utterly unappealing to me. The movie even resulted to two characters trading remarks at a funeral. It’s supposed to be funny but it’s ultimately not because it’s just plain pathetic. That funeral scene cements how immature and self-centered the characters are. This is another one of those bad comedies that you try to forget but cannot quite get there because of how demeaning it was for the actors who are usually pretty entertaining.
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