Friday, January 24, 2014

Birds of America (2008) [R] **

Morrie Tanager (Matthew Perry) is a physics professor at a small Connecticut college. He and his wife Betty (Lauren Graham) live in the childhood home Morrie inherited when his parents died. Betty wants to start a family, while Morrie wants tenure first, so he'll feel financially secure. However Paul (Gary Wilmes), Morrie's neighbor and department head, hasn't yet offered it, so Morrie tries not to alienate him or his ditzy wife Laura (Hilary Swank), and deals with the droppings their dog leaves on his lawn.

Morrie's deepest fear is that someday he'll develop the mental illness that afflicted his late parents, and has already afflicted his younger siblings, Jay and Ida, whom he raised when their parents died. And now, when Morrie hopes to be offered tenure, and appearances are important, Jay and Ida reappear. Morrie finds Jay (Ben Foster) living in a ravine. He had been mistaken for a pedophile, and assaulted by a protective mother, and the police are interested in him. Jay agrees to move back home, but he wants to live in the attic. And, soon afterward, Ida (Ginnifer Goodwin) appears, and she wants to live in the basement; Ida would like to be a photographer, but struggles with her sex addiction. Jay and Ida have always resented Morrie as a surrogate father; now, although Morrie is accustomed to their feral behavior, Betty has reached the limit of her endurance. Worse, Jay and Ida are starting to irritate Paul and Laura next door. But it is only when Morrie, Jay and Ida collide in a rare three-body-collision, that Morrie understands the changes he needs to make in his life.

Written by Elyse Friedman and directed by Craig Lucas, this is yet another minimally entertaining, dysfunctional-family comedy drama. The characters and the family dynamics are barely engaging, and are never hilarious or compelling; the whole thing feels fairly derivative. Ultimately it's not nearly as rewarding as As Good As It GetsSmart People or Rachel Getting Married

Labels: comedy, drama    
Internet Movie Database    
Tomatometer (critics=NA, viewers=45)

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