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The Royal Tenenbaums

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Royal Tenenbaums

Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston
Director: Wes Anderson
Rated: R
RunTime: 108 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genre: Comedy

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
4.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review movie reviewmovie review
5.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewvideo review

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

It's "The Emperor's New Clothes." Highly publicized as a hilarious hoot, this weird, tepid farce about an estranged, fractured family is one of the most thuddingly unfunny comedies of the season. As we're told by a narrator (Alec Baldwin), the children of Royal (Gene Hackman) and Etheline (Anjelica Huston) were child prodigies. Raised in an imaginary Manhattan by their wealthy mother, their genius deteriorated after they were abandoned by their father. After "two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster," Chas (Ben Stiller), the older son, a financial whiz, has become a bitter, paranoid widower with two young look-alike/dress-alike sons, while the younger son Richie (Luke Wilson), a former tennis ace, is a traumatized world-traveler who harbors a guilty secret. The adopted daughter Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), a promiscuous playwright, spends her days sulking, locked in a bathroom, smoking, watching TV and soaking in a tub, while Richie's best friend, Eli Cash (Owen Wilson, who co-wrote the script), is a drug-addled successful novelist. Desperate to re-connect, they all move back into the family mansion, including the sheepish wastrel Royal, who fakes terminal stomach cancer to get attention. Hovering around the periphery are Etheline's suitor (Danny Glover), Margot's hapless husband (Bill Murray) and the Indian butler (Kumar Pallana). Despite the presence of a talented acting ensemble and David Wasco's clever production design, writer/director Wes Anderson, who showed a risky originality with "Bottle Rocket" and "Rushmore," misfires here. Whatever hostile, deadpan humor exists is so insular, so inaccessible as to be unfathomable. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Royal Tenenbaums" is a bleak, brittle 4. To call it merely peculiar is a gross understatement.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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