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Kirk Jones
Robert DeNiro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Lucian Maisel, Damian Young, James Frain, Melissa Leo, Katherine Moennig
Writing Credits:
Kirk Jones, Massimo De Rita (original screenplay), Tonino Guerra (original screenplay), Giuseppe Tornatore (original screenplay)

Frank wanted the holidays to be picture perfect. What he got was family.

Robert DeNiro leads an acclaimed all-star cast Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell in Everybody's Fine, the heartwarming film that will move you to laughter and tears. When Frank Goode's (DeNiro) grown children cancel a family reunion, the recent widower sets off on a cross-country journey to reconnect with each of them. Expecting to share in the joys of their happy, successful lives, his surprise visits reveal a picture that's far from perfect. A family separated by physical and emotional distance finds a way to come together in a story that will touch your heart.

Box Office:
$75 million.
Opening Weekend
$45.033 million on 3471 screens.
Domestic Gross
$102.543 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.40:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 2/23/2010

• “The Making of Paul McCartney’s ‘(I Want to) Come Home’” Featurette
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Everybody's Fine (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 17, 2009)

Anyone remember Edgy Robert De Niro? That side of the actor seems more and more distant with every flick since 2000’s Meet the Parents. De Niro continues his shift toward milquetoast fare with 2009’s Everybody’s Fine.

Widowed retiree Frank Goode (De Niro) looks forward to a visit from his three adult kids: musician Robert (Sam Rockwell), Las Vegas dancer Rosie (Drew Barrymore), artist David (Austin Lysy) and ad executive Amy (Kate Beckinsale). However, all cancel for their own vague reasons.

Rather than stew at home, Frank decides to take matters into his own hands and visit each of them. As he takes this journey, he learns that the lives they’ve described differ from reality, especially in terms of David, who’s been arrested in Mexico. Frank gets many insights about his family and himself along the way.

Essentially, Fine offers the kind of fare you’d normally find on the Lifetime Channel but with a better cast. This doesn’t make the film a sappy waste of time, as it actually manages an occasional glimmer of humor. I liked a few of the gags at the grocery store, and a smattering of additional titters crop up as matters proceed.

The subject matter tends toward treacle, though, and finds itself on the verge of capsizing due to its basic plot. Rather than come across as an insightful look at family struggles, Fine appears contrived and forced much of the time. There’s just too much dysfunction at work. I suppose the movie wants to tell us that everyone has problems, but it goes too far.

Some character issues arise as well. It’s never particularly clear why no one tells the truth to Frank; there seems to be a “he can’t handle the truth” element, but I don’t think the film elaborates well on this issue.

The movie also seems torn between depicting Frank as likable and nice or making him out to be an ogre. All his kids appear to resent him and can’t relate to him, but we don’t see much reason for this beyond his desire for them to excel. Sure, he comes across as a demanding parent, but not unreasonably so.

I will admit that Fine handles the issues in a reasonably understated manner, and the cast definitely gives it a boost. In particular, De Niro tosses out good work. He provides a real “Average Joe” feel to Frank that I didn’t think would be possible; he keeps the character small and believable. None of the supporting performers get a great chance to shine, but they add substance to their roles.

I also acknowledge that despite the contrived elements and the sentimentality, Fine manages to muster real emotion. I state this in a grudging manner since so much of the flick appears so “on the nose”, but I can’t deny that it got to me a little. Director Kirk Jones usually underplays the sentimental elements, so as much as the basic story wants to wallow in emotion, the film never quite goes too far.

And that helps make Fine an erratic but acceptably moving experience. No, the story doesn’t make a ton of sense, and it certainly wraps up in much too neat of a bow. However, the film manages to avoid excessive sappiness and it occasionally connects in spite of itself.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Everybody’s Fine appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Expect a reasonably good transfer.

Sharpness usually appeared acceptably accurate and detailed. At times, however, I found the image to come across as a little fuzzy and soft, with lesser definition seen in some of the wide shots. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented minor concerns, and edge enhancement failed to create problems. No print flaws materialized; the film remained clean and fresh.

In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden feel to things. Within those parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, but shadows were a little iffy; I noticed some mosquito noise in low-light shots that made them a bit blocky. While the softness and noise created some distractions, the image usually worked pretty well.

As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and that was all. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of comedy, and I got exactly what I anticipated. In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day. Surround usage stayed limited; the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but did no more than that.

In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.

Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as acceptably distinctive. This was a decent reproduction of the material.

Only a few extras show up here. The Making of Paul McCartney’s “(I Want to) Come Home” runs nine minutes, 47 seconds and includes comments from McCartney as he discusses how he came onto the film and how he composed and arranged the tune. McCartney gives us good info and proves to be charming and entertaining as well during this enjoyable featurette.

Seven Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 11 minutes, 47 seconds. These include “Book of Directions” (0:56), “An Artist (Extended)” (2:41), “Every Day Is a Storm (Extended)” (3:20), “Red River Valley” (0:54), “You Like Hot Dogs?” (1:29), “Airport” (1:01) and “I’m Sorry (Extended)” (1:26). Most of these fall into the “filler” category, as they just offer extra footage of the folks Frank encounters during his travels. A little of these goes a long way, so I think they deserved the boot. I do enjoy the end of “Storm”, as the elderly actor forgets to stay in character and tells De Niro he likes his films.

“Artist” and “Sorry” provide a bit more substance, as they expand the Frank/David relationship. “Sorry” is just a somewhat melodramatic extension, but “Artist” adds a little depth. Through the film, we often hear soundbites of a Frank/David chat about the difference between artists and painters; the deleted scene lets us see/hear more. It gives us more depth about Frank as a father and probably should’ve stayed in the final film.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for The Last Song, Oceans and When In Rome. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for Old Dogs and Army Wives. No trailer for Fine shows up here.

With a little too much schmaltz and a contrived story, Everybody’s Fine never excels as a movie. However, it does deliver a decent emotional impact, and it also boasts a strong lead turn from Robert De Niro that helps carry it over rocky patches. The DVD provides good picture, decent audio, and a smattering of interesting supplements. I can’t say I really liked the film, but I found it to be moderately touching despite its flaws.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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