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"THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS"
(2001) (Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Heavy None Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Extreme Heavy Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: After being absent for many years, a scoundrel tries to prevent his ex-wife from remarrying by insinuating himself back into his adult children's dysfunctional lives.
PLOT:
Decades ago, the Tenenbaum kids -- Chas (BEN STILLER), Richie (LUKE WILSON) and their adopted sister Margot (GWYNETH PALTROW) - were something to behold. Chas was a natural born businessman who raised and sold Dalmatian mice, Richie was a championship level tennis player, and Margot an award-winning playwright.

Yet, when their neglectful and callous father, Royal Tenenbaum (GENE HACKMAN), left their mother, Etheline (ANGELICA HUSTON), the kids never quite recovered and became poster children of dysfunctional living. Now 22 years later, things aren't much better, although the family is once again coming together.

When Royal learns that he's being kicked out of the hotel where he's lived ever since then and hears from the family's helper, Pagoda (KUMAR PALLANA), that Etheline is seriously involved with her friend and business manager, Henry Sherman (DANNY GLOVER), the scoundrel decides to insinuate himself back into the family by announcing that he's dying from a terminal disease.

Chas, whose wife died within the past year in a plane accident, has moved his two kids, Ari (GRANT ROSENMEYER) and Uzi (JONAH MEYERSON), into his mom's place after becoming increasingly paranoid about their safety. The perpetually depressed Margot has moved back home after an unhappy marriage to writer and neurologist Raleigh St. Claire (BILL MURRAY), while Richie has returned after traveling the seas lamenting his secret love for Margot. Then there's their childhood friend and current professor and novelist, Eli Cash (OWEN WILSON), who's also maladjusted, what with his drug problem.

As Royal tries to prevent Etheline from marrying Henry, he enlists the aid of his friend, Dusty (SEYMOUR CASSEL), to help him continue his illness ruse so that he can get back into his kids' good graces and thus use them in his plan.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or the quirky films of director Wes Anderson ("Rushmore"), they just might, although older teens seem the most likely audience among kids.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some language, sexuality/nudity and drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GENE HACKMAN plays a scoundrel who tries to insinuate himself back into his dysfunctional kids' lives to thwart his ex-wife from remarrying. Along the way, he makes various callous remarks, smokes a great deal, and uses strong profanity.
  • ANGELICA HUSTON plays his ex-wife who raised the kids and has finally found the right man in Henry.
  • BEN STILLER plays one of their kids, a formal financial genius who's turned into a anal and neurotic father who's paranoid about his kids' safety.
  • GWYNETH PALTROW plays his adopted sister, a former award winning playwright who's now depressed and in an unsatisfying marriage. She also smokes.
  • LUKE WILSON plays her brother, a former championship tennis player, who's been harboring his secret love for Margot for years and tries to take his own life over such matters.
  • OWEN WILSON plays their childhood friend, a professor and novelist with a progressively worsening drug problem.
  • BILL MURRAY plays Margot's husband, a writer and neurologist.
  • DANNY GLOVER plays Etheline's business manager who wants to marry her and prove that Royal is faking his illness just to prevent that.
  • SEYMOUR CASSEL plays Royal's friend who helps him with his ruse.
  • KUMAR PALLANA plays the house worker who serves as Royal's informant, but later stabs him in the gut in regards to a longstanding mission.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy/drama. Profanity consists of at least 3 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some brief and non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, while a flashback sequence briefly shows a woman kissing another, bare-breasted woman, as well as various men (with one caressing her clothed breasts). A briefly seen black and white poster shows female full frontal nudity. Meanwhile, a young man and his adopted sister long for each other and briefly kiss.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including one who stabs another in the gut with a pocketknife and a father who purposefully shoots his young son in the hand with BB gun during a game. Other violence includes a character trying to commit suicide by slitting his wrists (with rather bloody results), some hitting, and a car crash that reportedly kills the family dog.

    Being a story of a dysfunctional family, the film is filled with various sorts of tense family scenes, while some imitative behavior is also present. One character has a drug problem, while others drink and/or smoke. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home who may want to see it, we suggest that you examine our content listings for more details about what's present in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Various people drink in a quick flashback scene, while another quick scene shows a person holding a bottle in a brown paper bag.
  • Eli smokes what are presumably drugs from a long pipe.
  • Eli has what looks like a joint in his mouth.
  • Richie has a drink and Eli states that he's "spaced out" on Mescaline while he pours himself a drink.
  • Royal has a martini, as does Pagoda.
  • We see Eli and several men who appear to have cocaine in front of them.
  • While apparently under the influence of drugs, Eli accidentally crashes his car into a building, running over and killing the family dog (neither the impact nor the dog is seen).
  • Miscellaneous people drink before a wedding.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Chas spots some blood on one of his son's shirts and Royal reassures him that it's only dog blood (but we don't know any of the details).
  • Richie has a bandage around his hand that has some bloodstains on it.
  • Richie takes a razor blade and slits his wrists but is rescued before he dies (the actual cutting is not seen, but we do see some blood running into a sink and then a great deal of blood on his arms and then on the floor next to him). Those who help him have some blood on their clothing, while he later shows Margot his arms with the various gory-looking stitches on them.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Royal states that - in the past - perhaps he wasn't as true to his wife as she should have been.
  • Royal also tries to get back into the good graces of his kids (by acting like he's sick when he's not) despite abandoning/neglecting them for a long time. In addition, he makes various callous remarks (in the past and present) about or to them.
  • Chas has a bad attitude toward his father.
  • Pagoda, the house worker, turns out to be an informant for Royal, but then stabs Royal in the gut with a pocketknife (all related to events from their past where he also knifed Royal - not seen).
  • Royal briefly refers to Henry (who's black) as a "black buck" and later as "Coltrane."
  • Royal shows Chas' boys how to have fun and we see them running across the street when the Don't Walk sign lights up; throwing water balloons at a passing cab and then running away; and shoplifting items from a convenience store.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • While playing some sort of a game with BB guns, Royal purposefully shoots Chas in the hand (despite them being on the same team).
  • Pocketknife: Used by Pagoda to stab Royal in the gut.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck do you care?" "No sh*t," "Who gives a sh*t?" "This is bullsh*t," "Oh, sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "C'mon, let's shag ass," "Sucker," "Jackass," "Give a damn" and "You're a bastard."
  • We hear that Margot and Richie ran away from home (as kids) and camped out at the public archives.
  • We see that Margot has a TV tied off at the end of the bathtub where she bathes (and she even turns it off with her toe).
  • Royal shows Chas' boys how to have fun and we see them running across the street when the Don't Walk sign lights up; throwing water balloons at a passing cab and then running away; riding on the back end of a garbage truck; and shoplifting items from a convenience store.
  • We see a miscellaneous man with a large safety pin through his cheek.
  • Richie takes a razor blade and slits his wrists (the actual cutting is not seen, but we do see a great deal of blood on his arms and then on the floor next to him), but is rescued before he dies.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 "f" words, 9 "s" words, 1 slang term for sex ("balling"), 13 damns, 5 asses (2 used with "hole"), 4 hells, 3 S.O.B.s, 3 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Lord," "My God," "Oh my God" and "My Lord" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a photo of Margot (in the past) with her wearing a small bikini.
  • We see a black and white poster from one of Margot's plays that shows the bare midsection of a woman's body (thus we see bare breasts and pubic hair).
  • We see Eli in his briefs.
  • While outdoors and in public (and clothed), Etheline tells Henry that she hasn't slept with a man in 18 years (possibly suggesting she's ready to do so with him). They then kiss, but we don't see anything else happen.
  • We see a stack of porno tapes sitting on a table, but we only see their spines, and they're out of focus in the foreground of the shot.
  • As a private eye recounts Margot's past, we see her with various lovers, some of which she kisses/makes out with (including Eli), while we see another man caressing her clothed breasts from behind. One of those lovers is a topless woman (in just her panties) whom Margot kisses while standing (we see Margot in her bra).
  • Raleigh states that Margot is "balling" (having sex with) Eli.
  • Margot and Richie say they love each other and then briefly but passionately make out.
  • SMOKING
  • Royal and Margot each smoke more than 10 times (with Margot later sucking on a nicotine pipe while trying to quit), Eli, Raleigh and Richie each smoke once, and various other people smoke (cigars, pipes or cigarettes).
  • We hear that Margot has been smoking since she was 12.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Royal and Etheline had three children together and then separated (with footage of the kids asking if the split was their fault - all shown in a whimsical fashion). We then hear through narration and see via events that the family was dysfunctional and that the kids were disappointed in their father not being around and/or by the way he acted. He eventually divorces Etheline.
  • As the main part of the story begins, we hear that no one in the family had spoken to him in three years.
  • We see that Margot isn't happy in her marriage, and hear that she was formerly married to a recording artist in Jamaica. She then moves back home (and thus away from Raleigh) and that leads to Raleigh believing she's having an affair. He eventually leaves her.
  • We hear that Chas' wife died the previous summer (in a plane crash) and that he's been raising their two boys by himself since then.
  • A character dies and family members attend the funeral.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Familial relationships.
  • Richie takes a razor blade and slits his wrists (the actual cutting is not seen, but we do see a great deal of blood on his arms and then on the floor next to him), but is rescued before he dies.
  • Margot and Richie say they love each other and then briefly but passionately make out (they're siblings, but she's adopted).
  • VIOLENCE
  • While playing some sort of a game with BB guns, Royal purposefully shoots Chas in the hand (despite them being on the same team).
  • Etheline hits Royal several times after he says he's dying and then retracts that (although he then immediately says he is again).
  • In a flashback and just off screen, a man cutting wood accidentally cuts off part of Margot's finger (we don't see the impact, wound or severed digit).
  • Richie punches his hand through a windowpane after Raleigh says he thinks Margot's having an affair.
  • Pagoda stabs Royal in the gut with a pocketknife (all related to events from their past where he also knifed Royal - not seen).
  • Richie takes a razor blade and slits his wrists (the actual cutting is not seen, but we do see a great deal of blood on his arms and then on the floor next to him), but is rescued before he dies.
  • While apparently under the influence of drugs, Eli accidentally crashes his car into a building, running over and killing the family dog (neither the impact nor the dog is seen). It also sends him flying into the building (but he's otherwise not hurt).
  • As Chas chases after Eli, he accidentally runs into a priest who falls down some stairs. He finally catches Eli and pushes him against a wall, elbows Richie in the eye when he tries to intervene, and then tosses Eli over a ground level wall.



  • Reviewed December 16, 2001 / Posted December 21, 2001

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