Film Scouts Reviews

"Home for the Holidays"

by Eleanor Ringel

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For the holidays or any other time of the year there's no place like Jodie Foster's deliciously warm-hearted and well-observed comedy. Slyly inverting Tolstoy's famed dictum about happy and unhappy families, director Foster and her deft ensemble show us that on the last Thursday of every November, all unhappy families ARE alike. First they carve up the turkey; then they carve up each other. This particular brood includes a forty-ish single mom (Holly Hunter), her parents (Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning); her prankish brother (Robert Downey, Jr.); his mysterious "friend" (Dylan McDermott); Cynthia Stevenson and Steve Guttenberg as Hunter's boringly uptight sister and brother-in-law; and Geraldine Chaplin as her dotty aunt who wears a necklace made out of Froot Loops. What the movie captures so well is the loving ludicrousness of forced family togetherness disguised as some hearty holiday ritual. And it reminds us that there's no one like your own flesh and blood to knock the stuffing out of you...and still, somehow, have you coming back for seconds. Here's one family reunion you won't want to miss.

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