Wednesday, January 20, 2010


By D.E.Levine

Director: Kirk Jones
Writers: Kirk Jones; Massimo De Rita, Tonino Guerra and Giuseppe Tornatore (original screenplay)
Producers: Vittorio Cecchi Gori, Ted Field, Glynis Murray and Gianni Nunnari
Executive Producers: Craig J. Fiores and Callum Greene
Co-executive producer: Vitaly Versace
Co-producer: Nathalie Peter-Contesse
Cast: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, :uxian Maisel, Damian Young, James Frain, Melissa Leo, Katherine Moening et al.
Original Music: Dario Marianelli
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Dtama

A remake of the 1990 original Italian by Giuseppe Tornatores, this is a sentimental and comedic look at an aging widowed father trying to reconnect with his children.

Robert De Niro is cast here as a good and sentimental character instead of his usual tough guy image. He manages to pull this off for a charming, if not memorable film.

Initially, the audience watches Frank Goode prepare for the reunion of his four adult children at their first get together after their mother's death eight months before. Frank is alone except for a soundtrack playing Perry Como.

After getting the house in ship shape order, Frank receives a number of phone calls in which each of the children cancel their homecoming.

Despite his doctor's admonishment "not to travel", Frank sets off to surprise his kids by traveling to visit each in their own homes.

Carrying a sealed envelope for each of the kids, Frank waits outside the apartment of his youngest son, a painter, all night, before finally slipping the envelope under the door.

Moving on to daughter Amy, a successful ad agency executive in Chicago, who seemingly lives the perfect life in a palatial home with husband and kids, Frank learns things aren't as perfect as they seem.

His conductor son in Denver turns out to be a slacker musician and his dancer daughter Roxie in Las Vegas, who also turns out to be living a different life than told to Dad.

During his travels, director /writer Jones lets us hear the three older kids talk to each other via telephone and we grasp that all of them have withheld information about their lives from their father and are now withholding information on the whereabouts of the youngest, David.

As the kids conspire to keep things secret from their father, Frank begins to realize for the first time, that the kids have left a lot out of the idealized version of their lives they told to him.