LA is the Land of Dreams and Movie-Making. Justine O'Neill Covers " Keeping Up With The Steins"!! Fashiontribes.com MOVIE REVIEW
Lucky for Fashiontribes that we have a talented writer like Justine O’Neill covering movies and related entertainment topics. She’s a welcome addition and here’s her first review for Fashiontribes Entertainment (read Film and Television) Category.
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Coming of Age While “Keeping Up with the Steins”
By Justine O’Neill
Three generations of family come of age in this modest film from writer/producer Mark Zakarin and directed by first time feature director Scott Marshall. An impressive, yet sometimes underutilized, cast turns in a mostly spot on performance despite the occasional dialogue hiccup.
Photo Credit Eric McCandless
When Benjamin Fiedler’s (Daryl Sabara) Bar Mitzvah planning becomes the outlet for his parent’s ongoing competition with the Steins (Larry Miller and Sandra Taylor), he begins to question what exactly this proud Jewish ritual really means. His apprehension of the event provokes him to secretly invite his estranged hippy grandfather, in the hopes of a family rift big enough to cancel the party. When grandpa (Gary Marshall) unexpectedly turns up on the Fiedler doorstep he is greeted by a bitter son (Jeremy Piven) and his hospitable wife (Jamie Getz). As irony would have it grandpa turns out to be a pretty cool guy that made a few mistakes and while Benjamin can see this, his father can not. Despite the tension within the family the party must go on and with a little help from grandpa Benjamin loosens up and makes the very mature decision to scale down his Bar Mitzvah. His decision also forces his parents to grow up and realize what is really important. Meanwhile grandpa is faced with having to reconcile with his wife (Doris Roberts) from whom he has been separated for over two decades. In the end the Fiedler’s have an enviable Bar Mitzvah at home (complete with guest musical performance by Neil Diamond). While Benjamin enters a new phase of adolescence, his father begins a new phase of forgiveness and his grandfather a new phase of responsibility.
Photo Credit Michael Yarish
The story is enjoyable and fresh however the directing is somewhat typical. Stellar performances are given by veterans Gary Marshall and Doris Roberts which only make the relative new comers seem that much greener. Most disappointing however, is how little screen time was was given to Cheryl Hines and Daryl Hannah, both of which had dynamic characters with no real purpose or background. Yet, despite it’s being somewhat fallible; this film has a mild script that gets better as the scenes go on and a feel good nature that begs forgiveness for its faults. With this feature being the first of Zakarin’s produced and the debut of Marshall as a director, one almost gets the sense that they too, are coming of age in the feature film world.
Release date: select cities — May 12, 2006
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