On the outside a film like ‘The Kids are All Right’ (2010) might look like a little indie flick which should live in an Arthouse cinema, however once you delve in you realise that there is something more interesting and entertaining then a bunch of teenager sitting around talking ala Mumblecore or a Kevin Smith movie. Not that works by the Duplass Brothers or Andrew Bujalski are teenage trash, it is just they have hardly pushed the indie boundaries like Lisa Cholodenko’s ‘The Kids are All Right’. Once again I am forced to pull out the Oscar nods card however this is the general consensus from a lot of critics, but there isn’t smoke without fire.
Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a seemingly happy lesbian couple with children Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) however when Joni turns eighteen she is bugged by her younger brother Laser to call their biological dad Paul (Mark Ruffalo) and set up a meeting. Whilst not telling their loving mothers, Joni and Laser head out to meet Paul, a cool, relaxed man who appears to have it all. As Nic and Jules are quick to find out about Paul the family begins to see that everything isn’t what the believed it was. Head of the house Nic has a drinking issue which is reminiscing of Miles from Alexander Payne’s ‘Sideways’ (2004), Jules becomes confused with her life choices, Jodi is about to go off to college but has feelings for her long term friend Jai (Kunal Sharma) and Laser is friends with bad influence Clay (Eddie Hassell). On the outside each character appears confident and assure of their lives however after Paul joins the mix everyone’s self esteem breaks down and we see their less then perfect world.
Penned by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg this smart, intellectual movie about parenthood, responsibility and growing up deals with some heavy issues. It’s obvious to note that it is an off beat comedy which some people are not going to get but that is the crowd who enjoy the works of Michael Bay. This is edgy stuff, especially with the lesbian couple which doesn’t bog down any of the story plot but it is really the family who works as a unit but breaks down if separated.
As I mentioned before the film can be associated with the likes of films such as ‘Sideways’, in that it prizes it’s self on dry humour especially with Mark Ruffalo’s character Paul. All the main actors especially Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo’s characters are very well acted and believable whilst being let down by minor characters especially with Kunal Sharma and Eddie Hassell however that doesn’t shy from the movie on a whole.
Whilst ‘The Kids are All Right’ has very few minor weak leaks on a whole the movie is very enjoyable. The characters are interesting and likable and the jokes aren’t the adolescent humour you come to expect in an Apatow movie. If you enjoy movies with some edgy intellectual characters this is right for you.
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