The Family Fang DVD Review
“The Family Fang” finds director Jason Bateman in a sophomore slump.
In “The Family Fang,” the story revolves around the titular family (Caleb and Camille and their children Annie and Baxter) who were renowned for their artistic improvised family pranks. After Annie and Baxter became adults, the children distanced themselves from their parents and embarked on their own artistic careers. Alas, both the parents and the children seem to be struggling artistically a bit on their own.
When Baxter is injured in a freak accident, the family comes together briefly before the parents plan a getaway trip. In a strange turn of events, the parents are presumed missing or dead. Not knowing whether it’s real or a hoax, Annie and Baxter set out to search for them, try to fix their own lives, and even form a stronger bond along the way.
“The Family Fang” (which is based on Kevin Wilson’s novel) is the type of quirky drama-comedy that feels like a wannabe Wes Anderson movie (specifically “The Royal Tenenbaums”). It has dark humor, a strange premise, some creepy family dynamics, and some heartfelt character moments thrown in for good measure. Unlike ‘Tenenbaums,’ however, I never bought into this movie. The story feels weirdly detached, the plot is flimsy, and the tone is inconsistent at best. There’s an interesting story of a family feud in here somewhere, but it’s lost amidst a flawed script and story.
Performance wise, the cast does their very best to try and make the material work. Jason Bateman (who wrote, produced, and directed this film) is predictably solid in his role as Baxter here. Nicole Kidman surprises (in a good way) as Annie since it’s not the type of role you typically see her in. Christopher Walken gives the film’s best performance as the selfish art freak Caleb (the most interesting and layered character in the entire film).
Presentation: 2.40:1. How does it look? Content aside, the film is well shot with a distinct style that even shines on standard definition.
Audio Track: Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? Adequate.
The only extras are trailers for other Anchor Bay/Starz titles and an informative solo commentary by Jason Bateman.
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