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Movie Breakdown: Family Weekend (Noah)

March 1, 2013

Film

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

It feels a little bit like Pitch Perfect, but for the competitive jump-roping crowd. This, well, this leaves me baffled.

The Reality:

Family Weekend feels a bit like a toothless Royal Tenenbaums, if directed by David Fincher’s less talented cousin Jerry. The film is a mish-mash of standard indie tropes – the uptight main character put through her paces by a wacky, artistic family, competitive jump-roping, etc. – and for most of the film I found myself dragged along only by a compulsive need to finish every single movie I ever dare review. Emily (Olesya Rulin) is an uptight high-schooler quickly ascending the competitive world of jump-roping (clearly this film is set in the Midwest). Her family, a bunch of typically vacant artists (populated by Matthew Modine and Kristin Chenoweth), don’t care. In an effort to “fix” her family, or at least make them give a shit about her, sigh, competitive jump-roping passion, Emily kidnaps her parents, and enlists her zany siblings (the little girl acts like Iris from Taxi Driver) to help save the family before her competitive jump-roping final. It’s nothing original (it feels like House Arrest ’13) and it should fall horribly flat, but somehow, this messy little family comedy jumps the obstacles of banality and sort of works in the third act. This could possibly be because prior to the third act every character is either a slack-jawed yokel or entirely unlikeable. When the final act rolls around though somehow director Benjamin Epps turns the corner and pulls the disparate yarns together in a way that, though heavy-handed, brings the family together while somehow alleviating the grim taste of dislike I fostered for the entire film. Maybe I’m just a sucker for families coming together in the end, but I’ll at least throw down a passing grade for Family Weekend.

The Lesson:

Clearly, in some fields of film, my opinion is not to be trusted.

Family Weekend is out on VOD now.

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