And so this summer of over-hype marches on. First, movie audiences were treated to Inception, an okay thriller that misguided “fanboys” praised as the second coming of Citizen Kane. For the indie crowd, we now have The Kids Are All Right, a film that many critics are lauding as the second coming of … what? Yours, Mine and Ours?
I don’t want to denigrate Lisa Cholodenko’s Kids, which is a fine movie, but despite its trendy family unit headed by a pair of lesbians, the film is a lot more conventional than you might think. Rewrite Annette Bening’s character as a male, and you’re viewing a “family values” comedy-drama that might have starred Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in the 1960s – minus the sex scenes and obscenities, of course.
Kids is a nice movie with nice characters and a bittersweet ending – nothing more, nothing less. Bening and Julianne Moore play the moms of two teenagers, and Mark Ruffalo portrays an anonymous sperm donor who, 18 years after his donation, is tracked down by the curious boy and girl and invited into their family dynamic. All of the characters in Kids seem like real people, which is refreshing, and you find yourself liking all of them, which is uncommon in today’s films. I guess that’s such a rare combination that many critics can’t help falling all over themselves in praising the movie.
Kids manages to avoid excessive political correctness, a pitfall that could have killed its feel-good nature. You will probably leave the theater with a smile on your face, which certainly counts for something. Grade: B+
Director: Lisa Cholodenko Cast: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, Yaya DaCosta, Kunal Sharma, Rebecca Lawrence Release: 2010
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