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Everybody's Fine 

Awwww ... DeNiro's getting the family together

Some folks like these easy-on-the-brain, family-drama-lite movies, especially around the holidays when we're supposedly filled with fellow-feeling for our relatives. For me, Kirk Jones' remake of the 1990 Italian film Stanno Tutti Bene, was like opening a 100-minute greeting card: It expressed nice but wholly expected sentiments in a non-threatening manner, and was equally disposable. Robert DeNiro portrays a recently widowed man who realizes that he's lost touch with his adult children, now scattered across the country. So he embarks on a journey to surprise-visit them, traveling by train and bus to maximize the earnest, old-fashioned nature of his quest. (This also gives him more opportunity to talk to random strangers, thus filling us in on the family's background.) You'll likely guess that the visits don't go exactly as planned; the kids and us know something bad that Pops doesn't know. But you'll likely also guess that it's the messy stuff that ultimately glues everybody back together. The cast isn't bad -- Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell play the offspring -- but everybody, including DeNiro, acts and talks like they're in a movie. As somebody said appreciatively leaving the screening: "They had to end it happy, because they couldn't end it sad." Exactly. Starts Fri., Dec. 4.

 

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