THE FAMILY STONE | 2005 | Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson head the Stone family, a large brood in the New England liberal model whose kids are coming home for the holidays. Into their self-satisfied world arrives Sarah Jessica Parker as the uptight girlfriend of the prodigal son (Dermot Mulroney), and the family's cruelty to her, though unjustified in terms of plot, at least gives the cast a few opportunities to wax nasty. In a move that makes little sense outside a screenplay seminar, she calls in her sister (Claire Danes) for support, and of course the newcomer proves the family favorite. Rachel McAdams endears here even as the bitchy sister; Luke Wilson refines his affable slacker persona as the youngest son. Director Thomas Bezucha enjoys staging the noisy family donnybrooks, but the film buckles under the formulaic screenplay, which insists on tying up every loose end no matter how untidy the knot.
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